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‘Miracle’ baby born in Bethlehem

Bethlehem, Dec. 1 (Reuters): A baby born in Bethlehem is drawing crowds by the thousands.

Palestinians in the West Bank town revered by Christians as Jesus’ birthplace have been thronging to the adjacent Aida refugee camp for a glimpse of the 11-day-old infant many are calling a “miracle baby”.

The boy has gained attention for being born with a large birthmark across his cheek that roughly forms in Arabic letters the name of his uncle, Ala, a Hamas militant killed by Israeli troops after he was alleged to have planned a suicide bombing.

The family, devout Muslims, called it a divine message of support for the Palestinians against Israel, though some local Christians preparing for subdued Christmas observances have quietly dismissed it as lacking any religious significance.

The Israeli army declined comment but a security source said: “It sounds very freaky”. The security source said the baby’s uncle, who was shot dead eight months ago, was suspected of masterminding a bombing that killed 12 people on a Jerusalem bus in November 2002.

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