A Greek Orthodox church in Gaza is providing refuge for dozens of Palestinian families fleeing Israeli bombing, international media reported on Tuesday.
The church in downtown Gaza City is hosting about 600 people in total and only two out of all the families there are Christians, the Wall Street Journal’s Middle East correspondent Tamer El-Ghobashy reported.
“We’re cooperating with the mosque next door. We’re looking after around 1,000 people between us,” Archbishop Alexios, who has served Greek Orthodox Christians in Gaza for some 14 years, told Peter Beaumont of the Guardian.
“People started coming in on Sunday, more and more people, so we couldn’t even think about holding our Sunday service. We gave them blankets and water and money for food.”
Palestinians arrived at the church after heavy bombing in the neighboring district of Shujai’iya.
One woman was forced into early labor by the bombing but gave birth successfully, according to the archbishop.
“It is not only death in Gaza, there is life,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
“We accept people without discrimination. We are brothers. We are a family.”
Alexios said that shrapnel from the bombing has destroyed the church’s water tanks.
The number of people killed since an Israeli offensive against Palestinian militants started two weeks ago has risen above 500.