Church defaced in Israel ahead of pope visit

May 23, 2014 8:50 PM

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Vandals defaced a church in southern Israel in a suspected hate crime ahead of Pope Francis' visit to the Holy Land, police said Friday.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a church was defaced with graffiti in the southern city of Beersheba. Police suspect it is the latest in a series of hate crimes blamed on Israeli radicals, he said.

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