- BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AFP)
- The Israeli army resumed its psychological warfare against 200 Palestinians
holed up in the Church of the Nativity, broadcasting ear-splitting noise
and repeated calls to surrender.
- Sounds of drilling, animal roars and strident shouts
were played over a giant loudspeaker facing the church which marks Jesus's
birthplace. Earlier, pre-recorded messages calling for the besieged Palestinians
to give up were played for half an hour.
- The noise pollution started at midnight (2100 GMT), an
hour earlier than the night before.
- The operation, in its third night, is part of the "psy-war"
against 200 Palestinian fighters blocked inside the church along with Bethlehem
governor Mohammed Al Madani, other civilians and some clergy.
- Gunfire erupted around the church on Monday, with Palestinians
and Israelis accusing the other side of opening fire and both sides suffering
- The area has been declared a closed military zone by
the army and forbidden to journalists.
- The church has been under siege since the beginning of
the month, with the Israeli army saying 30 terrorists are among the Palestinian
- Palestinian negotiators on Sunday rejected as "unacceptable"
an offer by Israel to allow the gunmen to either go into permanent exile
or face trial in Israel.