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Pilgrims Celebrate Easter Sunday in Jerusalem


Christians around the world are celebrating Easter Sunday, marking the resurrection of Jesus. Robert Berger was in the midst of the faithful at Jerusalem's holy places and filed this VOA report.

Christians celebrated Easter Sunday at sunrise in Jerusalem.

Thousands of pilgrims converged on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City, where priests in festive red robes celebrated Easter Mass.

A cloud of incense rose above the ancient stone tomb, located inside the church, where Jesus is believed to have risen from the dead.

Judy Aboud came from Phoenix, in the southwestern American state of Arizona.

"Even with all the confusion and the crowds and everyone, the feeling is unexplainable. It's unbelievable, and some of the holy sites that we've seen too, you can really feel the Spirit," said Aboud.

Easter came amid a nationwide Israeli security alert for the Jewish holiday of Purim which coincided this year with Easter. Israel fears Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon could be planning a revenge attack to mark the end of the 40-day mourning period for a top Hezbollah leader, killed in a car bombing in Damascus. Hezbollah blamed Israel for the assassination, although Israel said it was not involved.

Armed Israeli police and soldiers patrolled the narrow cobblestone streets of Jerusalem's Old City, but the threat of terror did not worry Ron Kussack from the U.S. state of Virginia.

"I've had 33 years of military experience and I have no doubt in my mind that this place is well-secured and protected," said Kussack.

The pilgrims left Middle East tensions and politics behind and focused instead on their expression of faith.

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