April 16, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Two killed and many injured in air raid on Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza Strip

Two Palestinians were killed after an “Israeli airstrike” on the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Porphyrios in central Gaza, Al Jazeera reported, leaving many injured.

The Palestinian Authority Interior Ministry said there were 50 people in the church, including women and small children. writes CNN Greece. It is the oldest church in the Gaza Strip, built in 1150-1160 AD and named after Saint Porphyry, bishop of Gaza in the 5th century.

Both the Patriarchate and the Greek government focused their attention on this, and the day before, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in communication with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom they discussed events in the Middle East, assured that the government was in contact with the Israeli side to protect the monastery of St. Porphyria in the Gaza Strip from attacks by Israeli armed forces.

Edition tanea.gr notes: information that this could be the historical monastery of St. Porphyry, in which, in addition to the civilian Palestinian population, about two thousand Christians found refuge, has not been confirmed.

Eyewitnesses, however, reported that as a result of the impact, the facade of the temple was damaged and the adjacent building collapsed. writes sofokleousin.gr. They assessed that the target of the attack was an area near a Greek Orthodox church, where many civilians had sought refuge amid ongoing IDF shelling.

An IDF spokesman asked about the Greek Orthodox Church bombing by Agence France-Presse (AFP) said the matter was under investigation and he could not confirm reports of an “Israeli strike.”

The number of Christians in the Gaza Strip has decreased in recent years, writes the Greek publication. It is estimated that there are fewer than a thousand left (most of them Orthodox), whereas before Hamas took power in Gaza (2007), there were more than seven thousand Christians.

According to Hamas, the church is located near Al-Ahli Hospital, which came under fire on Tuesday evening, leaving 471 people dead. The Islamist group blamed Israel for the attack on the hospital, while the Israeli military denied responsibility and blamed Palestinian Islamic jihad.

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