Roman Empire Launches Surprise Assault in Bethlehem

(Note: The following is a retelling of the Gospel of Matthew's Christmas story written as a news report from the perspective of the Roman Empire if it was around today.)

Bethlehem, Palestine--Roman air and ground forces launched a series of attacks Friday on targets across the city of Bethlehem and the region of Ramah. An undisclosed number of casualties were reported by the military. It is suspected that militants were gathering to declare a new leader for their insurgency.

"Ever since the new government was installed in order to save the people, there have been periodic insurgencies that we have had to put down," stated one centurion, on condition of anonymity. "But the population should not worry. The cause of these subversives is hopeless and futile."

Officials in Bethlehem accused the government of targeting civilians, including a number of children. "There is weeping and great mourning for our children. We will not be comforted." Officials could not provide independent verification of the number killed and wounded, though several residents claimed the average age of victims was two and under.

It is believed that several foreigners and suspected religious extremists escaped, returning to their country by another route. During the night, there were also several unauthorized crossings into Egypt. It is unknown how they managed to slip undetected through the military checkpoints.

"We will hunt down these barbarians, who threaten to undermine the peace and stability we have worked so hard to establish," said a spokesman for King Herod, adding, "We are sending heralds to proclaim this good news to all the people: The Roman Empire remains strong, and will not be made a fool by a ragtag band of extremists. Who do they think they are, anyway?"

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