Bethlehem church door blown open
A door to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem has been blown open, apparently by Israeli soldiers. But Israeli troops have not entered the shrine.
Eyewitnesses inside the church have told the Fides news service that a back door was brought down by explosives on Thursday morning.
Dozens of armed Palestinians, who had sought refuge in the church on Tuesday, have reportedly moved into the adjacent Franciscan monastery.
On Wednesday, Israeli defense minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer had announced that Israeli troops would not enter the Church of the Nativity, which stands on the site of Jesus' birth. That assurance does not apply to the Franciscan monastery.
"All of us shut inside the Nativity Church could die of hunger and thirst" (Fides)
Statement of Holy See spokesman Navarro Valls
Touring the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (includes 360° images)
5 Apr 2002