World, Middle East

Israeli airstrike on Orthodox church in Gaza kills 8 Palestinians, injures several others

Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza city was sheltering hundreds of Palestinians when it was targeted by Israeli warplanes on Thursday night, reports media

Abdel-Jabbar Abu Ras  | 20.10.2023 - Update : 20.10.2023
Israeli airstrike on Orthodox church in Gaza kills 8 Palestinians, injures several others People inspect the area at the Greek Orthodox Church after an Israeli attack in Gaza City, Gaza on October 20, 2023. At least two women have been killed and many other people have been injured in the attack, the Palestinian news agency WAFA said Thursday. ( Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency )


At least eight people were killed in an overnight Israeli airstrike on the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza city, which was sheltering hundreds of Palestinians, local media reported on Friday.

According to the official Wafa news agency, Israeli jet fighters bombed the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church on Thursday night, killing eight Palestinians and injuring dozens more, the majority of whom were women and children.

Civil defense rescue teams are working to extract the dead and injured from the rubble, the news agency reported.

The Israeli airstrike damaged the church's facade, and an adjacent building belonging to the church also collapsed, sheltering dozens of Palestinian Muslim and Christian families, it reported.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, condemned the Israeli airstrike on the church, saying that "the Zionist crime machine continues to enlarge its frame of terrorism by its obnoxious targeting of the ancient Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church."

The Israeli army has yet to comment on the church attack.

Earlier on Friday, Israeli carried out airstrikes on Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, killing and injuring dozens of people.

According to the Palestinian Interior Ministry, six residences were destroyed in Israeli airstrikes, in which at least "nine people were killed and more than 60 others injured."

However, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that at least 21 people were killed and 79 others injured in Israeli airstrikes, the majority of whom were children and women.

The conflict in Gaza, under Israeli bombardment and blockade since Oct. 7, began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza is experiencing a dire humanitarian crisis, with no electricity, while water, food, fuel, and medical supplies are running out.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” to ease the “epic human suffering.”

At least 3,478 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza, while the figure stands at more than 1,400 people in Israel.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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