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Israel allows return of Bethlehem ‘Nativity terrorists’

ICC Note

Terrorists who formerly engaged in persecution of Christians in Bethlehem are allowed to return back to Bethlehem following negotiations between Israeli prime minister and Palestine authorities.

By Aaron Klein

December 6, 2007 Palestine (WorldNetDaily.com)– Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has agreed to a Palestinian request for senior terrorist leaders expelled to Europe after seizing Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2002 to return to Bethlehem, a top Palestinian negotiator told WND.

The terrorists, members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah militias, long have been accused of engaging in campaigns against Bethlehem ‘s Christian population. The terrorists are accused of carrying out and planning multiple attacks, including suicide bombings and deadly shootings.

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In 2002, members of Jaara’s group and other terror organizations holed up inside the Church of the Nativity while fleeing a massive Israeli anti-terror operation. Israel surrounded the church area but refused to storm the structure. Gunmen inside included wanted senior Hamas, Tanzim and Brigades terrorists reportedly involved in suicide bombings and shooting attacks. More than 200 nuns and priests were trapped in the church after Israeli hostage negotiators failed to secure their release.

The siege ended after 39 days when mediators agreed the 13 most senior terrorists would be deported to European countries, 26 more junior terrorists would be transported to the Gaza Strip and the remaining gunmen would be freed.

The Nativity church, one of the most sacred sites in Christianity, is the believed birthplace of Jesus.

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According to media reports, the terrorists holed up inside the Nativity church left the holy site in shambles.

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