Gaza Orthodox church bombed

Gaza Orthodox church bombed

An explosion struck a Greek Orthodox church housing displaced Palestinians late Thursday, resulting in deaths and dozens of wounded, Gaza authorities said.

Mohammed Abu Selmia, director general of Shifa Hospital, said dozens were hurt at the Church of Saint Porphyrios but could not give a precise death toll because bodies were still under the rubble.

Palestinian authorities blamed the blast on an Israeli airstrike, a claim that could not be independently verified.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchy of Jerusalem issued a statement condemning the attack and said it would “not abandon its religious and humanitarian duty” to provide assistance.

A survivor told Qatar’s Al Jazeera Arabic television that there was no warning from the Israeli military beforehand.

Named after the Bishop of Gaza from 395 to 420, St Porphyrios is located in the al-Zaytun section of Gaza’s Old City. Its thick limestone walls house an elaborate interior of gilded icons and ceiling paintings.

It became a mosque in the 7th century before a new church was built in the 12th century during the Crusades.


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