May 26, 2024

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The Greek Orthodox Church was subjected to a deadly explosion in Gaza City

JERUSALEM – The historic St. Porphyrios Church, the oldest active church in Gaza, was bombed on Thursday while sheltering hundreds of Palestinians. She was displaced because of the war, according to religious officials.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said on Friday that at least 16 Christians were killed in the bombing and an unknown number were injured.

The Washington Post identified the geographic location of the strike and confirmed the location of the church based on a video The photo shows people searching through the rubble of a destroyed building in Gaza City. Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem Blame Israel is hit.

The Israeli army said in an emailed statement that the raid that targeted a Hamas control center “caused damage to the wall of a church in the area” and that it was “aware of reports of casualties” and was reviewing the incident.

In a video geolocated by The Washington Post, people are seen searching through rubble after the bombing of St. Porphyrios Church in Gaza City on October 20. (Video: X)

The original structure of the Church of Saint Porphyrius Dating back to the 5th century, the current structure was built in the 12th century. Located in one of the city’s historic districts, the church was named after the former Bishop of Gaza, Saint Porphyrius, and is located on the spot where he is believed to have died in 420 AD. Characterized by thick walls and a richly decorated interior, the church has long served as a place of refuge and community for its members, who are a religious minority. In the Gaza Strip.

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Ibrahim Jahshan, a deacon at the church, told The Washington Post that several hundred displaced Christians had taken refuge in the area. Rescuers were still digging through the rubble early Friday, but Jahshan said the strike killed nine people and injured more than a dozen.

The Order of Saint George, an order associated with the Church, issued A statement Confirming the strike, the Order of Saint George said: “Archbishop Alexios appears to have been located alive, but we do not know if he is injured.” The explosion hit “two halls in the church where refugees, including children and infants, were sleeping.”

A Palestinian-American woman who moved from Gaza to the United States in the early 2000s said in an interview that she had relatives and friends who took refuge in the church at the time of the raid, some of whom were injured.

“They are terrified. They are shaken. They don’t know what to do, they don’t know where to go,” said the woman, whose identity the newspaper did not reveal out of concern for her family’s safety. She expressed anger at the idea of ​​evacuating more than a million civilians from a densely populated place. It is being bombed as hard as Gaza City – a mass movement called for by Israel last week. “This is impossible,” she said.

She said she grew up in St. Porphyrius before moving to the United States, and that her family has deep ties to the church, dating back to the time they became refugees during World War II. 1948 The establishment of Israel and the mass displacement of Palestinians.

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She described the group as close-knit and family-like, and said she was not only worried about her relatives. “I’m worried about everyone because we’re a small community.”

Christians make up about one percent of Gaza’s population and face restrictions and discrimination from Hamas and the Islamist government in Gaza, according to human rights groups. During the 2014 Gaza war, about 1,000 Palestinian Muslims fled Israeli bombing of the Church of St. Porphyrios, where the graves were damaged by shrapnel from a nearby strike, according to Reuters. mentioned.

The Gaza Hospital, where hundreds were killed, is owned by a branch of the Anglican Communion

in statement Early Friday local time, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem said that targeting churches housing innocent citizens “cannot be ignored.”

“The Patriarchate affirms that it will not abandon its religious and humanitarian duty rooted in its Christian values ​​to provide everything necessary in times of war and peace alike.”

Hill reported from New York. Apples reported from Seoul.