200 Besieged In Church Of
Nativity - No Food Or Water


BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AFP) - The more than 200 people holed up in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity have run out of food and water, a Palestinian negotiator involved in trying the settle the crisis said.
"The finished their last food yesterday (Friday) and don't have any more water," the negotiator, Salah al-Taamari, told AFP.
He said Israeli soldiers had blocked supplies of food and medical supplies to the church complex, and electricity had been cut since Friday.
The Israelis were also exerting "disgusting pressure" by preventing the removal of two decomposing bodies, he said.
Israeli authorities said they favoured opening negotiations to end the standoff but insisted armed Palestinians in the church surrender.
They also gave an assurance they would not touch the church believed by most Christians to have been built over the site where Jesus Christ was born.
The Israeli army, which has encircled the church since April 2, has claimed there are "more than 30 true terrorists" inside the building along with Palestinian civilians and about 30 monks.

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