JERUSALEM (AP) — A top Roman Catholic official has taken the rare step of asking Israel’s president to help put an end to attacks on Christian holy sites.

The custodian of holy places in the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, recalled in his letter sent Sunday to President Shimon Peres that vandals spray-painted “Death to Christians” and “We’ll crucify you” on the Baptist Church in Jerusalem and similar hate graffiti on a Greek Orthodox monastery in the city.

Pizzaballa wrote that “red lines that must not be crossed have been crossed” and asked Peres’ help to eradicate “this dangerous phenomenon.”

The anti-Christian graffiti is suspected to be the work of Jewish extremists.

There was no immediate comment from Peres’ office, though the president has condemned the violence in the past.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.