BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Mar 14, 02 ( - An Israeli
tank fired a round into a Catholic church in Bethlehem on
Thursday morning, damaging the building, including a statue
of the Virgin Mary.

The church compound, which includes a hospital, orphanage,
and hostel, is located near university buildings from which
snipers have fired at Israeli soldiers in recent days.
However, the Israeli army admitted that the church is on a
map of holy sites at which soldiers are forbidden to shoot,
and that disciplinary action will be taken.

Israeli soldiers began moving into central Bethlehem around
1 am on Thursday and took control of a southern section of
the city. During a shootout, a tank shell punctured the
facade of the 200-year-old Holy Family Church. The same
church and the adjoining hospital and orphanage, were
damaged during an Israeli attack on Bethlehem in October.
The damage from that attack was estimated to cost $85,000
repair and the church was seeking compensation from the
Israeli government. No one was injured in Thursday's attack.