Skip to comments.Church of Nativity Gunmen stole gold, crucifixes, escaped monks report
Posted on 04/23/2002 5:35:06 PM PDT by Shermy
Three Armenian monks, who had been held hostage by the Palestinian gunmen inside the Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, managed to flee the church area via a side gate yesterday morning. They immediately thanked the soldiers for rescuing them.
They told army officers the gunmen had stolen gold and other property, including crucifixes and prayer books, and had caused damage.
The three elderly monks were assisted by soldiers. One of them held a white cloth banner with the words "Please help."
One of the monks, Narkiss Korasian, later told reporters: "They stole everything, they opened the doors one by one and stole everything... they stole our prayer books and four crosses... they didn't leave anything. Thank you for your help, we will never forget it."
Israeli officials said the monks said the gunmen had also begun beating and attacking clergymen.
Chances of a breakthrough in the three-week standoff between the IDF and the gunmen holding clergymen and Palestinian civilians hostage inside the church took a more optimistic turn last night, following two meetings between Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials.
Officials are expected to meet for the third time today, an Israeli security official said last night, adding that the talks were conducted in a good atmosphere.
"The Palestinians insist Israel allow the gunmen to be transferred directly to Gaza with an international escort; we insist they lay down their arms and those found to be involved in terrorist activities go on trial in Israel or be deported," he said.
PA officials who participated in the meetings included Imad Natshe, the district coordinating officer; PA Minister of Tourism Mitre Abu Aita, Bethlehem Mayor Hana Nasser, and Salah Ta'amri. Col. Marcel Aviv leads the IDF negotiating team.
Last night, Nasser told The Jerusalem Post a third meeting would take place this afternoon. The atmosphere in which the talks took place was good, he said, but "frankly, there has been no progress. The Israelis are adamant that the gunmen be deported. They don't know the exact number of the gunmen and neither do we. However we insist that the gunmen be taken to Gaza accompanied by a third party.
"If there are accusations against any of them, they can be formally made to the PA court. We cannot agree to their being deported, as it violates the Oslo Accords and sets a terrible precedent.
"We also asked Israel to improve the hygienic situation inside and restore the power and water and food supplies," he said.
Yesterday was the first time that both sides met for direct talks on the issue.
Of the scores of gunmen inside the church, security officials estimate there are at least 20 fugitives affiliated with the Fatah Tanzim and Hamas.
Among them are Ibrahim Abayat, who has planned and organized terrorist activities in the area, and Jihad Ja'ara who, according to witnesses, was shot in the leg when he and the other gunmen commandeered the church.
Israel has stressed that all those who leave the church and are proven not to have been involved in terrorism will be free to return to their homes.
According to reports from those who fled the compound in recent days, there is growing dissent among the gunmen. Food and water supplies are dwindling, and the pressure is mounting, Israeli officials said. Throughout the past weeks, the IDF has given food and medication to the clergy held hostage inside; the other Palestinians held hostage by the gunmen receive water and medication.
Annan: "We, at the Imperial Holy UN, encourage the use of dynamited-wheelchairs to kill Christians, Jews, or Americans.
We also thank Mr. Arafat for his donated crosses and stunning gold artifacts,
which he sent me and my wife, Nane. Now before you antiterrorists go away,
be sure that you send the reparations YOU owe me and my wife, Nane, to our New York address."
I wish I could bump this to CNN.
The New Destruction of Civilization --- on CNN
A program on 'The Future Destruction of Israel'
narrated by Andrea Koppel and Terrorist Arafat.
A startling program on the Destruction of 'Old-Switzerland'.
Ms. Fonda Turner returns for 'The Future Destruction of America'
Do you think the Muslims would be as outraged as they are about the desecration in the Church Of The Nativity?
If anyone buys that Bravo Sierra, I have a few bridges in the Bay Area or heck any area to sell you!
It is time to clean out the garbage in the shallow end of the human genome pool.
Any body have any suggestions of where to take out the garbage next, Iran, Iraq or Syria?
Amazing that he builds up Iraq and Islam,
while in each broadcast slamming Jews, Israel, and Christians.
If I had not seen it, I would not have believed it.
They're delusional. They'd report the holocaust as the largest mass suicide outside of Russia's Gulags.
It would be amazing to believe that nothing like this would have happened. The way I read through the stories, the invasion of the Church was a pre-planned option for propaganda purposes - maybe mistaken in believing it would be a positive spin. There's hard-core terrs in there, regular gunmen, and people who just got caught up in all of it.
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