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Gaza’s Christians stand their ground despite heavy bombardment

Gaza’s minority Christian population has refused to leave Gaza City, despite the recent airstrike that targeted a historic church.
Palestinian Greek Orthodox Christians pray during Sunday Mass at the Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza City, on May 30, 2021.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Churches have become the latest victim of the indiscriminate Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, leaving no safe place for the besieged Gaza population.

Twenty Palestinians, including 18 Christians, were killed in an Israeli airstrike Oct. 19 on a building near the St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in the south of Gaza City, according to the Hamas-run government media office in Gaza and other local sources.

The shelling brought down one of the buildings in the church’s complex where hundreds of displaced have been sheltered since Israel ordered more than 1 million people to move from Gaza’s northern part to the south ahead of its planned ground invasion. 

Father Youssef Asaad of the Catholic Holy Family Church, located a few meters away from St. Porphyrius, told Al-Monitor that the Israeli missile fell between the church’s service provision building and a nearby abandoned building, which led to the collapse of the service provision building on the people hiding inside the church. He said 20 people were killed, including 18 Christians who were mostly from a single family, while they were sleeping.

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