6 April 2002

IDF Communiques
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

1. Highlights of April 5 Briefing by Col. Marcel Aviv on the Church

of the Nativity in Bethlehem

– Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Tanzim terrorists are inside the church.

– An ultimatum was not given to the church personnel

– In no way did we fire at the church

– Concerning explosions – there was a building housing armed Palestinians near the church. IDF forces blew in the door of the building and not that of the church. – Essentially, IDF forces did not detonate anything in the church.

– IDF forces communicated with both the Palestinian political echelon and the heads of the terrorist infrastructures, in order to attempt to get the people out. They were offered medical assistance, medicines, doctors and food, but they refused.

– In terms of the IDF, we would like to get the people out unharmed and we have patience. We have no desire to damage the church or any other holy institution in the city.

2. Soldiers Killed in Jenin

The IDF Spokesperson released for publication the names of the soldiers killed during IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp yesterday evening. He is 20 year-old Corporal Oded Kornfein from Kibbutz Ha’on. In that same incident, 21 year-old Sgt. Ro’i Tal from Ma’alot-Tarshiha was also killed and another soldier seriously wounded. The wounded were evacuated to a hospital where they received medical care. The families of the soldiers in question were notified.

The IDF Spokesperson released for publication the name of the soldier killed in an exchange of fire in the Jenin refugee camp. He is 19 year-old Sgt. Marom Fisher from Moshav Avigdor. His family was notified. In that same fighting, two other soldiers sustained moderate injuries and another was slightly injured.

The IDF Spokesperson released for publication that earlier this evening, an IDF soldier was seriously injured in an exchange of fire in Nablus. Another two soldiers were lightly wounded. The families of the soldiers were notified accordingly.

3. Prevention of attempted terror attacks in the West Bank tonight

IDF Armor force stationed at the Askar camp near Nablus identified tonight a group of terror operatives laying explosive devices on the road leading towards the camp. The force fired tank shells at their direction. Consequently, four terrorists were killed and ten injured.

Another IDF force stationed near the Jenin refugee camp spotted a terrorist carrying an explosive belt. The force fired at the terror operative, detonating the explosives and thus causing his death. The IDF sustained no injuries.

4. IDF Activity last night in Bethlehem

Yesterday (5 April) at approximately 2 PM, in the course of IDF operational activity in the alleys behind the Church of the Nativity, IDF troops were fired upon. The IDF began pursuing the source of the shooting and came upon a door. While trying to pry it open, light damage was sustained in its lower portion. Eventually, it was discovered that the door led to the residence of Orthodox monks and the operation was subsequently terminated.

Also during yesterday evening, a suspicious man was spotted running in the direction of the church. IDF forces shot several warning shots in the air, and demanded that he halt. The suspect continued running and was therefore shot and killed.

5. Hizbullah Fire on Har Dov and Hermon Outposts

The Hizbullah fired anti-tank missiles and mortar bombs earlier this evening (5 April) on IDF outposts in the Har Dov and Hermon sectors. IDF troops responded by combing the area with helicopters and directing artillery fire at the source of the shooting. There were no casualties among IDF soldiers.

The IDF Spokesperson noted that for some time now, the Hizbullah has opened fire on IDF positions from within Shuba and Shaba’ah and other Lebanese villages located in the Har Dov sector as well. This, with the full knowledge that such actions also endanger the lives of Lebanese civilians.