At least seven wounded in riots after Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth attacked
Three Jewish terrorists carrying gas canisters threw firecrackers inside the Basilica of Annunciation in the city of Nazareth on Friday evening, wounding several congregants, witnesses said.
The three hid firecrackers and small gas canisters in a baby stroller and activated the firecrackers inside the church during a special prayer for the opening of Lent. According to witnesses, two young Jewish women and a man entered the basilica compound disguised as Christian pilgrims.
Thousands of people gathered around the area in an effort to enter the compound and respond to the assailants. Israeli police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd.
Emergency workers said at least two people were injured in the riot, and others were suffering from tear gas inhalation. Five policemen were injured, officials said. The attackers remained barricaded inside the building for several hours before police broke through an angry crowd and took the three away.
Advisor to the Latin Archbishop Wadiya Abu Nasser told Haaretz a full report of the incident was forwarded on to the Vatican and to the pope's office.
The Basilica of the Annunciation, maintained by the Franciscan Order, is the largest in the Middle East. It was built on the traditional site of the annunciation by the Angel Gabriel of the birth of Jesus.