US experts find booby traps in Church of the Nativity
BETHLEHEM, West Bank, May 10
By AFP Published on The Age
US experts searching Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity today after the 38-day siege there "found booby traps" in the compound, an Israeli army spokesman said.
"Booby traps were found by the Americans in the compound. They took care of some of them," said the spokesman, Ron Edelheit.
Edelheit was unable to specify how many booby traps had been planted, or where they had been placed.
Following this discovery, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, who has partial custody of the church, asked Israeli troops to search the buildings, he said.
About 20 soldiers then entered the church complex to check that there were no remaining explosives, he added.
An army spokeswoman said the searches had revealed about 40 explosive devices, primed for use, inside the church and five concealed rifles. Army sappers were now defusing the explosives, she said.
An early statement from the army said 90 weapons had been found in the Basilica complex, including Kalashnikov and M16 assault rifles and pistols.
A number of knives were also discovered.