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NewsMine war-on-terror israel hostilities 2002 02-4-siege-apr Viewing Item
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Italian Priest Killed in Bethlehem Fighting
Tue Apr 2, 7:17 AM ET Reuters
ROME (Reuters) - An Italian priest was killed on Tuesday
during fierce fighting in the West Bank town of Bethlehem,
the Roman Catholic Missionary Service News Agency (MISNA) reported.
MISNA said Jacques Amateis died in St. Mary's convent in
Bethlehem. The news agency said it received confirmation of
his death from a Jesuit priest who also worked in the
biblical town and who was a friend of Amateis.
Amateis, 65, was a member of the Salesian religious order.
Italian media said he was killed by a burst of
gunfire while saying mass inside the church.
A number of nuns were also reported to have been injured
in the attack.
A spokesman for the Salesians in Rome could not confirm
the news. "There's a war going on there. It is impossible
to get through to the convent," Jose Luis Burguera said.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has demanded an
explanation from Israeli authorities into the
Bethlehem attack, diplomatic sources said.
Witnesses in Bethlehem said outgunned Palestinians fought
desperately to keep Israeli troops out of the central Manger
Square after tanks and armored vehicles pushed into the West
Bank town near Jerusalem overnight.
Helicopter gunships poured fire into Manger Square, near
the Church of Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus
was born, after a Palestinian fighter damaged a tank
with a grenade, the witnesses said.
MISNA quoted Jesuit priest Peter du Brul as saying that
Amateis had lived in the Holy Land "for a lifetime."
"He was one of the best experts of modern Arab literature,
a top flight academic," du Brul said.
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