Pilgrims Celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem

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Christian pilgrims pray at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem

Christian pilgrims pray at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on Dec. 25, 2005. Musa Al-Shaer/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Musa Al-Shaer/Getty Images

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.

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