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Israeli police arrest man who vandalized church where Virgin Mary believed to have died


JERUSALEM — Israeli police say they have arrested a man who vandalized a cross at the Jerusalem church where Christian tradition says the Virgin Mary died.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the 21-year-old jumped over a fence into the grounds of the Dormition Abbey on Tuesday. He said the man damaged a cross and a bench before a security guard apprehended him and called police.

Rosenfeld didn't immediately know the extent of the damage or the motives of the vandal, who was being interrogated by police.

Jewish extremists have carried out a spate of attacks in recent years in retaliation for Palestinian attacks or to protest what they perceive as pro-Palestinian policies by the government. Mosques, churches and dovish Israeli groups have been targeted.

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