Pilgrims celebrate Christ's birth in Bethlehem

Thousands of Christians have celebrated the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

The festivities culminated in a service at the Church of the Nativity, built on the site traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Christ.

A symbolic procession was led by Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal from Jerusalem's Old City to the West Bank city.

The procession passed through the separation barrier and Israeli checkpoints.

It concluded at Manger Square where thousands of people were gathered.

At a Mass at the Church of Nativity later on Monday, the Patriarch called for peace in the Middle East.

"From this holy place, I invite politicians and men of good will to work with determination for peace and reconciliation that encompasses Palestine and Israel in the midst of all the sufferings in the Middle East," he said.

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