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Christian pilgrims pray at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on Dec. 25, 2005.
Thousands of pilgrims defy an icy rain to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem, the West Bank town where tradition holds Jesus was born. City officials expect the turnout will be the largest since the Palestinian uprising began in 2000. They attribute the increased visits to less violence following the Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.