Police disarm pipe bomb near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem
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Police disarm pipe bomb near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem

Officers close off shrine after explosive device discovered in parking lot, launch investigation

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man stands by the intersection at the entrance to the Jewish religious site of Rachel's Tomb, surrounded by the Separation Wall, near Bethlehem, on June 26, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative: An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man stands by the intersection at the entrance to the Jewish religious site of Rachel's Tomb, surrounded by the Separation Wall, near Bethlehem, on June 26, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A police sapper disarmed a pipe bomb that had been left in the parking lot of the Rachel’s Tomb holy site in northern Bethlehem on Sunday.

The explosive device was discovered by officers outside the religious site, prompting them to seal off the area and call in a bomb disposal unit, police said.

After inspecting the device, the sapper “neutralized” it, a police spokesperson said.

No injuries or damage were caused by the pipe bomb, the spokesperson added.

Police have opened an investigation to determine who placed the bomb in the parking lot.

Rachel’s Tomb is believed to be the burial place of the matriarch Rachel. It is holy to Jews, Christians, Muslims and members of other world religions.

In October, the IDF installed a series of concrete barriers around the tomb, effectively separating it from the rest of Bethlehem.

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