Israeli bombing of Church in Gaza that sheltered Muslims and Christians kills, injures several peopletext_fields
Gaza City: The Israeli bombing of the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza, which sheltered Palestinians belonging to both Muslim and Christian communities who have been left homeless during the last few days of bombardment, killed scores of people and injured many.
The Israeli Defence Force justified the strike, labelling the Saint Porphyrius Church, the oldest church still in use in Gaza, as the command-and-control centre involved in launching rockets and mortars towards Israel.
Witnesses reported that the strike, ostensibly targeting a location near the place of worship, damaged the church's facade and led to the collapse of an adjacent building. Many injured individuals were rushed to hospitals for medical attention.
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemned the strike, emphasizing that targeting churches and their institutions, serving as shelters for innocent citizens, amounted to a war crime.
This incident follows a pattern of escalating violence in the region, with Gaza enduring a relentless barrage of Israeli airstrikes in response to a Hamas militant attack on October 7. The toll on the Palestinian side has been staggering, with at least 3,785 reported deaths, the majority being civilians, according to the Hamas health ministry.
The situation has raised international concerns about the impact on innocent civilians, particularly children and women who have lost their homes due to the ongoing conflict.
The Saint Porphyrius Church is situated in Gaza City's historic neighbourhood, not far from the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, which itself was hit by a deadly airstrike earlier in the week.
Hamas has accused Israel of targeting the hospital during its bombing campaign, adding to the already contested death toll, which the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza puts at 471.