No. of Cops Guarding Pope This Weekend: 8K

That figure puts him even with President Obama
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 19, 2014 9:26 AM CDT
Pope Francis leaves after an audience for members of associations founded by late Bishop Luigi Novarese, in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Saturday, May 17, 2014. Bishop Luigi Novarese, founded the...   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

(Newser) – When President Obama last visited Israel, he was accompanied by a rather large police presence—about 8,000 officers. Pope Francis will get the same treatment in the country this weekend, NBC News reports. Already, "all sorts of extreme elements" are seeking to "create pressure and the impression of pressure" on the visit, says a police commissioner—and such extremists have been blamed for recent graffiti on church buildings ahead of the visit.

One note, reading, "Death to Arabs and Christians and all those who hate Israel," appeared on a building where the pope is due to meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. The pope will be accompanied by a rabbi and a Muslim leader from Argentina, both old friends, the Boston Globe notes; a Vatican rep described it as an "absolute novelty" that other faith leaders would be made part of a papal party. What Francis won't be accompanied by: bulletproof cars. He'll ride in an open popemobile and a traditional car, per Reuters, which notes that world leaders typically opt for bulletproof limos while traveling in the Middle East.

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