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World News

Two Christian women killed in 'senseless' attack on Catholic Church in Gaza City

by Donna Birrell

Two Christian women have been killed in the Catholic Church compound in Gaza City.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem confirmed in a statement that an Israeli sniper murdered the women inside the Holy Family Parish where the majority of Christian families have taken refuge since the start of the war.

Nahida and her daughter Samar were killed as they walked to the Sister's Convent. The statement said one of the women was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety.

Seven more people were reportedly also shot and wounded as they tried to protect those inside the church compound. The statement said no warning had been given and that the women were “shot in cold blood inside the premises of the parish where there are no belligerents.”

The area has been under attack in Israel’s fight to flush out Hamas. 

Yesterday the Lib Dem MP Layla Moran appealed for help for people in the compound where members of her family are also sheltering.

Brendan Metcalfe who is CEO of the charity Friends of the Holy Land which supports Christians in Gaza has given his reaction to Premier:

“I’m horrified and upset. It's devastating news for such a small community, sheltering as they have been now for nine weeks in the church in Gaza. I just don't know how it can have happened.

“I last had contact with people in the compound a couple of days ago and they were down to very little water and very little food. I don't know how they're surviving, and they must be in a terrible state of fear.

“The objectives of Hamas are very much anti-Christian, so there is absolutely no way that there could be anyone from Hamas inside the compound. I just don't understand it at all. It just shows the senselessness of this whole situation. How many civilians must be killed before this desire to try and rid the world of Hamas? There's almost no words, it's so sad and upsetting.”

Brendan Metcalfe said he believed there are about 600 people sheltering in the compound, which also includes a centre for children with disabilities:

“They’re only having one meal a day and spending their time in prayer and supporting each other. It's just a terrible, terrible situation. It’s senseless, I don't understand how this achieves the objective of either trying to free hostages or trying to diminish Hamas. I'm sure there's no hostages in the church compound. The Christian community in Gaza is so small and this is devastating.”

The statement from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem went on to say that earlier on Saturday a rocket from an IDF (Israeli Defence Force) tank had targeted the Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa (Missionaries of the Charity) which is part of the compound. Its generators and fuel resources were destroyed, leaving the home uninhabitable. It’s feared that without access to respirators, many of the 54 disabled residents will not survive.

The statement says the Christian community is at a loss to comprehend how such an attack could be carried out and “even more so as the whole church prepares for Christmas.”   

You can read the full statement here


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