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'Death to Christianity' written on Jerusalem church

Feb. 20, 2012 10:08 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 21, 2012 10:13 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Vandals daubed "Death to Christianity" on a Jerusalem church on Monday in the second such attack in the holy city this month, police said.

The words "Price Tag", a slogan used by ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers, were also scrawled on the walls of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation in a quiet residential neighborhood in West Jerusalem.

"Officers are investigating a strong possibility of a (Jewish) nationalist motive but no one has been apprehended yet," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The graffiti also included profanity about Jesus, and the vandals slashed the tires of several cars parked in the church compound.

The "Price Tag" term refers to retribution settlers say they will exact for any attempt by the Israeli government to curb settlement in the occupied West Bank, an area Palestinians seek as part of a future state.

"Death to Christians" was daubed in Hebrew on the outer walls of the Monastery of the Cross, an 11th-century holy site, on Feb. 7.

On the same day, "Death to Arabs" was painted in Hebrew on the wall of a playground of a Jewish-Arab bilingual school in East Jerusalem.

"Price Tag" attacks have targeted mosques, Palestinian homes and Israeli military installations in the occupied West Bank.

Since December, five mosques have been vandalized in attacks by suspected Jewish extremists. An ancient mosque in Jerusalem was torched on Dec. 13, and sprayed with the Star of David, "price tag," "Muhammad is a pig" and "A good Arab is a dead Arab" in Hebrew.

Settler attacks in the West Bank against Palestinians increased by more than 50 percent in 2011, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Ma'an staff in Bethlehem contributed to this report
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