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Ancient Samaritan community marks the Feast of the Tabernacles with sunrise pilgrimage

Tara Todras-Whitehill / AP

Members of the ancient Samaritan community walk with their prayer mats during a pilgrimage marking the Sukkot holiday, known as the Feast of the Tabernacles, at the religion's holiest site on Mount Gerizim, near the West Bank town of Nablus, early on October 11.

Tara Todras-Whitehill / AP

Members of the Samaritan community pray during the Feast of the Tabernacles on Mount Gerizim on Oct. 11.

Alaa Badarneh / EPA

Silhouetted Samaritans walk across a road on Mount Gerizim early on Oct. 11 as they celebrate a sunrise service on the holiday of Sukkot.

Tara Todras-Whitehill / AP

Boys join in prayers on Mount Gerizim on Oct. 11.

The AP and EPA report: 

According to tradition, the Samaritans are descended from the ancient Israelite tribes of Menashe and Efraim, who remained in the biblical Land of Israel when the Assyrians conquered the area in the 8th century B.C. Today, their small community numbers close to 700 people, half of whom live in a village at Mount Gerizim, and half in the city of Holon near Tel Aviv.

Read more about the Samaritans in this Wikipedia entry.