Israeli attacks hit an Orthodox church in the Gaza Strip. Photo/Asharq Al-Awsat
GAZA STREET – Israel continues to bombard the Gaza Strip indiscriminately. Not only hospitals and mosques, churches have also become targets of Israeli attacks.
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the main Palestinian Christian denomination, said that overnight Israeli forces had attacked the Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza City, where hundreds of Christians and Muslims had sought refuge.
It said that targeting churches used as shelters for people fleeing bombing was a war crime that could not be ignored.
Video from the scene showed an injured boy being carried from the rubble at night.
“They feel they will be safe here. “They came from bombing and destruction, and they said they would be safe here but destruction is chasing them,” shouted one man as quoted by Reuters, Saturday (21/10/2023).
The Hamas-run state media office in Gaza said 18 Palestinian Christians had been killed, while the Health Ministry later put the death toll at 16.
The Israeli military said parts of the church were damaged by a fighter jet attack on a nearby Hamas command center involved in launching rockets and mortars towards Israel, and it was reviewing the incident.
“The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) can categorically state that the church was not the target of the attack,” he said.
Israel has massed tanks and troops near the Gaza Strip perimeter for a ground invasion.