10 May 2002

Results of IDF searches in the Church of Nativity and the IDF departure from Bethlehem

(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

At the request of the priests, IDF forces entered the Church of the Nativity in order to search for weapons inside the church.

During the search, weapons were found as well as 40 explosive charges that were hidden within walls and in corners of rooms. Several improvised explosives were found hidden behind closets.

During the limited time given to IDF to execute the searches, 25 explosive devices were neutralized, the remaining devices were marked by the IDF.

The neutralizing of the explosives left behind the terrorists prevented a great risk to the lives of the priests within the church.

At this time IDF forces have completed their withdrawal from the city Bethlehem.