Across the Middle East this week, it was a somber Christmas for many in the region — especially in northern Iraq, where worshippers gathered far from home because they were displaced by the Islamic State group's summer blitz. Baghdad's Christians worshipped in the very same church that came under siege a few years ago by an earlier incarnation of the IS group.
Nuns prayed in the Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, and ultra-Orthodox Jews lit candles to commemorate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Tensions rose near Ramallah at a protest against Israel's separation barrier. A Palestinian protester wearing a Santa Claus costume used a sling to throw a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers.
Near the Israel-Gaza border, an Israeli soldier detained a Palestinian teenager. The teen illegally crossed into Israel, according to the military.
In Egypt, a country where most of the population considers tattoos a taboo, organizers held a convention to challenge stereotypes and show-off the ink designs as an art form.
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AP photo editor Nariman El-Mofty curated this gallery. Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nmofty