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Holy Land church leaders say clergy mistreated

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May 12, 2013 01:47 PM EST | AP


JERUSALEM — A dozen senior church leaders in the Holy Land say Israeli police "ill-treated" clergy, including a Coptic Egyptian cleric, during Orthodox Easter services.

The leaders signed a letter on Sunday expressing concern and saying policemen allegedly used force and prevented clergymen and pilgrims from entering places of worship during Holy Saturday earlier this month.

The event drew thousands of people to Jerusalem's Old City and hundreds of Israeli police were on guard during the day.

A spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, Paul Hirschson, says Israel apologized this week to Egypt for the incident on Holy Saturday, which involved a Coptic Egyptian cleric. He said the incident was being investigated.

Israeli police said they received no formal complaint about the incident.