Tourists Stray Into Bethlehem War Zone : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Tourists Stray Into Bethlehem War Zone Thu Apr 18, 9:41 AM ET

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) - Two Japanese tourists, eager to visit Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, were so engrossed in their guide book Wednesday they did not notice they had wandered into a war zone. It was only when news photographers in flak jackets and helmets spotted the oblivious couple and pointed out the bullet-pocked buildings and military hardware around them that they decided to call off their trip to the Christian shrine.

"We have been on the road for the last six months and we did not watch television or read the newspapers," a bemused Yuji Nakano told one photographer, who told him the church was the center of an Israeli siege of Palestinian gunmen.

Nakano said he and his girlfriend had been dropped off by a taxi at a checkpoint near Bethlehem and had made their way along streets torn up by armored vehicles.

In the past, tourists have flocked to the church, which Christians believe is sited on the spot where Jesus was born.

Apart from souvenir vendors, Palestinians normally pay little attention to the visitors, but Wednesday, local women and children simply gazed at the two in stark disbelief

-- woops (cin@cin.cin), April 19, 2002

Moderation questions? read the FAQ