IDF Psy-War Against Palestinians
In Bethlehem Church Resumes


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 wounded.
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 fighters inside.
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.

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