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Crowds gathered in Bethlehem Saturday for Christmas Eve celebrations ahead of midnight mass at the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, with more visitors expected than in 2015 due to a drop in violence.Celebrations in Bethlehem culminate with midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity -- with the grotto where Jesus is believed to have been born underneath.Israel's tourism ministry said some 120,000 visitors were expected in December, half of them Christians.Palestinian officials said they were expecting more visitors than last year, with major hotels in Bethlehem booked.The violence has greatly subsided in recent months, though tourists will still have to cross Israel's West Bank separation barrier to reach Bethlehem.
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