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Under/Non Reportage of Extremist Attack on Nazaren Basilica
15 mar 2006

Coverage Trends
Photostory: Israeli extremists' attack on Nazareth's most famous Christian
church goes virtually unreported
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 8 March 2006
For Photo Journalism:

Thousands of Nazarenes rushed to the Basilica of the Annunciation in the
early evening of Friday March 3, as rumours swept the city that their
church was under attack. Built over the grotto where the archangel Gabriel
is supposed to have revealed to Mary that she was bearing the son of God,
the Basilica is one of Christianity's holiest sites. As local people
streamed into the church's walled-off courtyard, they learnt that three
intruders had detonated a series of small explosions inside the building at
5.30pm, during a special ceremony for Lent.

For several minutes the congregation huddled together in fear of their
lives before a priest and several churchgoers managed to overpower a
grey-bearded man in jeans, 44-year-old Haim Habibi, an Israeli Jew
accompanied by his wife, Violet, and the couple's 20-year-old daughter

As angry bystanders began beating Habibi, priests and a small contingent of
local policemen hurried the three intruders into an annex of the church,
where they were locked up for their own safety. There followed a stand-off
between police and the crowd for the next four hours.

Almost from the outset the Israeli media downplayed the significance of the
attack, saying only "firecrackers" had been set off by Habibi, who was
described - without evidence - as being mentally disturbed. As a result,
most of the world's media ignored the event entirely. These pictures
capture some of that night's dramatic events and a joint Christian and
Muslim protest march through Nazareth the next day.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth. His book "Blood
and Religion: the Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State" is
published by Pluto next month. His website is

This work is in the public domain
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