Two Killed Inside Bethlehem Church

BETHLEHEM, West Bank?Two Palestinians inside the Church of the Nativity compound were shot Wednesday and one of them died as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators gathered next door for a second round of talks to end the standoff at one of Christianity’s holiest sites.

The trouble at the church, built over a grotto where Christian tradition holds Jesus was born, began about dawn, when a Palestinian was shot and seriously wounded by an Israeli sniper. The Palestinian was standing by a window inside the church, the army and Palestinian witnesses said. He was armed, according to the Israeli army, and was evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital.

A few hours later, two Palestinians surrendered, turning themselves over to Israeli soldiers. The two men were wearing civilian clothes but were Palestinian police, according to a Palestinian journalist who recognized them. The two men said they were ill.