Talks underway for release of elderly religious from siege church

 Negotiations began this afternoon for the release of an elderly priest and four nuns, holed up in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for the 15th day. Fr Paul Delalan, 86, a French Christian Brother and the oldest member of the community, together with four nuns, three Italian and one Egyptian are not well, the Franciscan Custodian in the Holy Land, Fr Giovanni Battistelli. told the Missionary news service. Fr Giovanni said there was great concern for the health of the elderly religious. The buildings have been without water and electricity for many days. Yesterday two injured Palestians were collected from the entrance of the Church in Bethlehem by an Israeli military ambulance and taken to the hospital Hadassa Ein Kerem of Jerusalem. About 30 priests and religious remain in the complex together with around 200 Palestinians.

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