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Jerusalem’s Orthodox Patriarch: Israeli strike on Gaza church a ‘war crime’

The Saint Porphyrius Church, in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, was built in 1150 by crusaders and is considered the oldest active church in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Orthodox attend Palm Sunday mass at a church in Gaza City on April 9, 2023.

The Greek Orthodox church of Saint Porphyrius in the Gaza Strip was hit by an Israeli airstrike in the early hours of Friday morning as hundreds sheltered there against Israeli air raids, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem confirmed on Friday. 

The blast damaged the church and caused an adjacent building to collapse. On Friday morning local time, Gaza civil defense teams were still working to remove bodies from the rubble. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said at least 16 people were killed. The Wall Street Journal confirmed the account speaking to church officials and witnesses.

The Israel Defense Forces said its warplanes had launched an attack on a Hamas command and control center in Gaza City, which resulted in the hit on the nearby church harboring Palestinians displaced by the ongoing aerial bombardment. 

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