Catholic Church official in Israel says cemetery vandalized, with graves and crosses smashed

A Catholic Church official in Israel says a Christian cemetery has been desecrated, with graves damaged and crosses smashed.

Wadie Abunassar said some 20 gravestones at the cemetery in Kufr Birim in northern Israel were found vandalized early Wednesday. He said some were shattered, with pieces of stone strewn about.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday that police have opened an investigation. But Abunassar said the church is concerned that no one will be held accountable.

A number of Christian sites, including churches and monasteries, have been vandalized in recent years in attacks by suspected Jewish extremists. Critics charge that Israel often fails to apprehend and prosecute the assailants.

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin this week met with top church officials and denounced violence on holy sites.