Days after a hospital was hit, an Israeli air strike hit an orthodox Greek church in Gaza that was housing around 500 Palestinian people who had fled their homes, the Hamas-controlled interior ministry has said. Responding, Church authorities too have held Israel responsible for the devastation.
The Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church is the oldest church in Gaza. According to Al Jazeera, a priest at the church had actually predicted that it would be targeted, since both local communities, Muslims and Christians were sheltering there. Any strike on the church, Father Elias had said, “would not only be an attack on religion, which is a vile deed, but also an attack on humanity”.
The Order of Saint George, an associated order of the church, has issued a statement confirming that the church has been destroyed. “Archbishop Alexios appears to have been located and is alive, but we don’t know if he is injured. We have no word on the condition of any other of the more than 500 people being housed at the church and monastery, including the person who has been our source for most of our information,” the statement reads.
“The bombs hit the two church halls where the refugees, including children and babies, were sleeping. Presently, survivors are searching the rubble for other casualties. Our source at the scene says that they estimate that 150-200 people are dead, and that number is expected to rise as more people are found in the wreckage,” it continues.
According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, 3,000 people have been killed since October 7 and 12,500 injured. In Israel, more than 1,400 people were killed in Hamas’s surprise attack on October 7 and its aftermath.