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Thousands of Christians from the world over flocked to Bethlehem Monday to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the ancient West Bank town

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Nigerian pilgrims pray in the grotto of the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 24, 2012. The church is built over the grotto where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus.

Ammar Awad/Reuters

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A Palestinian women dressed in traditional costume watches a Christmas parade outside the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 24, 2012.

Darren Whiteside/Reuters

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The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal (C) prepares to bless the crowd outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem December 24, 2012.

Ammar Awad/Reuters

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A Palestinian boy scout marching band parades during a Christmas procession at Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 24, 2012.

Darren Whiteside/Reuters

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A Christian priest walks out of the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. Thousands of Christian worshippers and tourists arrived in Bethlehem on Monday to mark Christmas at the site where many believe Jesus Christ was born.

Adel Hana/AP

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A boy holds a Santa Claus balloon from a car as the convoy of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal arrives in the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas celebrations, Monday, Dec. 24, 2012.

Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP

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A Catholic pilgrim looks at lit candles outside of the Grotto at the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. Thousands of Christian worshippers and tourists arrived in Bethlehem on Monday to mark Christmas at the site where many believe Jesus Christ was born.

Adel Hana/AP

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A Palestinian vendor sells balloons and Christmas hats at Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, on Christmas eve in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 24, 2012.

Ammar Awad/Reuters

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A Palestinian security officer stands guard as Christian worshippers and tourists celebrate at the Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. Thousands of Christian worshippers and tourists arrived in Bethlehem on Monday to mark Christmas at the site where many believe Jesus Christ was born.

Adel Hana/AP

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