Pilgrims warned to avoid the Holy land

 Pilgrims and all tourists have been advised to stay away from Israel's holy places in the wake of the violence that has convulsed the country for the past week. The British Foreign Office has issued an official notice urging visitors in particular to stay away from the Old City of Jerusalem, which contains the Holy Sepulchre, the site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The Mount of Olives is also off-limits. Bethlehem and and Nazareth have seen some of the worst violence of the last few days. The Foreign Office website says: "The potential for outbreaks of violence remains extremely high." It also advises visitors to avoid demonstrations or large crowds of people. More than three million people are expected to have visited Israel by the end of this Holy Year - 300,000 of those from the UK. The director of the Israel Tourist Board in London, Amnon Lipzin, said he hoped the holy sites would be open soon.

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