Israel puts Jewish extremists under house arrest for pope visit

Israel puts Jewish extremists under house arrest for pope visit
Pope Francis.

JERUSALEM - Israel has decided to place under house arrest several Jewish extremists suspected of planning to disrupt Pope Francis's visit to the Holy Land this weekend, police said on Wednesday.

"The police and Shin Bet (security service) have taken out restraining orders against several right-wing activists who, according to information from Shin Bet, are planning to commit provocative acts during the pope's visit," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

Samri, who did not elaborate on what it was thought they intended to do, said the restraining order would apply for four days.

Media said three activists were to be put under house arrest on Thursday, two days before Francis arrives in the region. The Israeli army would back the measures.

Francis begins his visit to the Holy Land on Saturday when he flies to Amman and meets Syrian refugees before travelling to Bethlehem, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

He will meet with all the main Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders, but only briefly.

There has been opposition from ultra-Orthodox Jews over perceived Vatican designs on holy sites in Jerusalem.

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