Pope calls for free access to Jerusalem holy sites

Pilgrims must enjoy free access to holy sites in Jerusalem, Pope Francis said on Monday after touring the main places holy to the three Abrahamic faiths.

But he also called for a "firm rejection" of intolerance demonstrated towards places of worship in reference to a series of recent vandalism attacks by Jewish extremists on Muslim and Christian holy places.

"How good it is when pilgrims and residents enjoy free access to the holy places and can freely take part in religious celebrations," he said on a visit to the home of Israeli President Shimon Peres.