JERUSALEM (AP) — Police have barred several Israeli extremists from Jerusalem ahead of Pope Francis's visit to the Holy Land.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says five "right-wing individuals" were given orders this week banning them from Jerusalem after intelligence reports indicated they planned a "provocation." He says the orders will remain in effect until after the pope leaves the region.
Rosenfeld also says a church was defaced with graffiti in the southern city of Beersheba. Police suspect it could be the latest in a series of hate crimes blamed on radical Israelis.
The acts of vandalism have been condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.
The pope begins his visit to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank on Saturday.