Dec 24, 2015

By Bob Sheppard

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The biblical city of Bethlehem saw thousands of the Christian faithful descend on it Thursday to celebrate Christmas at the site they believe is the birthplace of Jesus.

But there have been clashes recently between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops during a three-month wave of violence.

While some celebrations have been toned down or cancelled all together because of the violence, the festivities in Manger Square are scheduled to go on as planned.

Visitors have been crowding into Manger Square, enjoying holiday music and admiring Bethlehem s Christmas tree, but just prior to the beginning of festivities, Israeli authorities say three Palestinians were killed when they took part in attacks in the West Bank against Israelis.

Meanwhile Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal will lead a Midnight Mass service at the Church of the Nativity. It s on the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born.

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