Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Saturday, January 9, 1999 Published at 23:51 GMT

World: Middle East

Cult members deported from Israel

A member of Concerned Christians is led to a hearing in Israel

Israel has deported 14 members of an American Christian doomsday cult, who were accused of plotting attacks on sacred sites in Jerusalem.

The group - including six children - has now arrived back in Denver, Colorado.

[ image: Back home: Cult members on the tarmac at Denver airport]
Back home: Cult members on the tarmac at Denver airport
The cult members were arrested last Sunday at rented apartments in the suburbs of Jerusalem.

Police said the Concerned Christians were suspected of planning unspecified "extreme acts of violence" in an attempt to hasten the second coming of Jesus, which they believe will take place at the end of the millennium.

A lawyer who represented three of the group said they were were law-abiding religious pilgrims.

"They did not deny the fact that they are waiting here in Israel to wait for the return of Jesus, but they say they will not be involved in any illegal activity," said lawyer Eran Avital.

A police spokesman said three Israeli policemen were escorting them back to the United States.

"Operation Walk on Water"

[ image: Al Aqsa mosque - a target for millennialists]
Al Aqsa mosque - a target for millennialists
Israel has set up a special police task force to deal with threats by Christian cults drawn to Jerusalem in the belief that Jesus will return at the end of the millennium.

Codenamed "Operation Walk on Water", the investigation has the help of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Some fundamentalist Christians believe one of Islam's holiest shrines in Jerusalem - Al-Aqsa mosque - must first be destroyed and an ancient Jewish temple restored in its place if Jesus is to return to Earth.

The 14 cultists were among 60 members of the Concerned Christians group who abandoned their jobs and homes in Colorado several months ago and went missing.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

05 Jan 99 | World
Cults: Worry ye not

04 Jan 99 | Middle East
US cult arrests in Israel

04 Jan 99 | Middle East
Millennialists prepare for Armageddon

14 Jul 98 | Europe
EU considers action on cults

Internet Links

History of Al-Aqsa mosque

Information about Concerned Christians

Cult Information Centre

Cults, sects and new religions

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

Iraq oil-for-food aid extended

Israel demands soccer sex scandal inquiry

Israeli PM's plane in accident

Jordan police stop trades unionists prayers

New Israeli raid in southern Lebanon

New demand over PLO terror list

Earthquake hits Iran

New UN decision on Iraq approved

Algerian president pledges reform