Israeli police expel 26 cult members fearing a millennium suicide
Twenty-six cult members were denied entrance into Israel for fear the group is planning a mass suicide on New Years Eve. The Irish and Romanian members are part of a "Concerned Christians" cult, seven of the members are children.
The group arrived at the port of Haifa where they were detained by police according to the London Times. Israeli police have been assigned to monitor "Doomsday cults" and this is the second group of "Concerned Christians" the police have expelled.
All 26 members of this group were believed to have physical and mental disabilities and they were turned down for visas to visit Israel twice before. The 10 Romanians and 16 Irish citizens carried with them a total of $300,000 cash reports the Times. The group told port authorities they were on a pilgrimage. Because of the widespread fear of suicide cults the port authorities ordered all them to return to Cyprus by ferry.
A spokeswoman for the group, Helena OLeary, told the London Times that members were hit and abused when asked to leave the area. Port authorities responded to those charges saying they used minimal force only when necessary to get the group on the bus and headed to their boat. The group had refused to move until they could talk with the Irish Ambassador and OLeary said it was then that the police got angry and began roughing up members of the cult.
Earlier this year a group of 14 from Denver, Colorado were sent home after police believed the group was planning some kind of mass suicide on New Years Eve. The leader of the Denver group, Monte Kim Miler, is now believed to be hiding out in Britain. Miller has hinted he plans a massacre for the millennium and has told authorities he will die on New Years Eve, and be resurrected three days later. There is no link between the group from Denver and the group expelled.
Israeli police are concerned about the activities of extremist groups as the year 2000 draws near. Police worry such groups may infiltrate Israel and carry out plans for what they call a "millennial atrocity". Police also fear the groups may try to carry out some sort of real-life Armageddon with an attack on a Muslim shrine like the Al-Agsa mosque. Because of these fears a special Israeli police force is keeping a close watch on border areas and being especially cautious when cults try to enter the country.
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