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Pope Francis cancels visit to Israel

Pope Francis has had to cancel his visit to Israel in May because Israel's foreign ministry workers are currently on strike and thus unable to make the necessary security arrangements for his visit, a foreign ministry source confirmed on Thursday to the Times of Israel newspaper.

Pope Francis had announced in January his intention to visit the Palestinian territories and Israel from 24-26 May, his first visit to the Holy Land since taking office in April 2013. However, Israel's foreign ministry workers have since gone on strike following a dispute over their wages.

The source noted that the cancellation will likely cause "large, measurable economic damage, with all the lost tourist revenue that would have accompanied the visit."

The newspaper added that the foreign ministry has stated that, "according to the Vatican, the pope's visit won't be able to be rescheduled, only cancelled."

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron was also forced to cancel his planned visit to Israel later this month, due to the on-going labour dispute.

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