JERUSALEM, Oct 11, 1999 (Reuters) - Israel deported on Monday 26 members of a Christian cult who had tried to enter the country without permission.
Police in the port city of Haifa said the mostly Irish members of "an extreme Christian cult" sailed by ferry to Cyprus late on Monday after being denied entry on Sunday.
A police spokeswoman said the group, including several children, had tried to enter Haifa port despite being refused Israeli visas on two separate occasions. The spokeswoman declined to say on what grounds they had been denied visas.
Israeli authorities fear a small number of the millions of Christian pilgrims expected to deluge the Holy Land for the millennium will be zealots eager to witness first hand what they believe will be an apocalyptic war foretold in the scriptures.
A shipping official on the vessel said the group, which had been confined to the ferry since it arrived, had $300,000 in cash and four cars, but he described the group as shabbily dressed.
Fourteen members of the Denver-based Concerned Christians group, which believes that acts of extreme violence on the streets of Jerusalem will trigger the cataclysmic End of Days and the second coming of Jesus, were deported in January.