Gaza, attack on Orthodox church: 18 dead. Israel: “It wasn’t objective”

Fighters aim at a Hamas command center, church wall collapses

Attack on an Orthodox church in Gaza, with 18 dead. The Hamas Information Minister in Gaza had declared that Israel had struck the church and that dozens of Christian and Muslim families, forced to abandon their homes, had found refuge in the building.

The Israeli Armed Forces rejects the accusations. “The IDF can state unequivocally that the church was not the target of our raid,” an Israeli army spokesman says of today’s bombing.

According to the Israeli military, the fighters’ target was a Hamas command and control center, from where rockets and mortars were fired at Israel. During the bombing, a wall of the church collapsed, the Israelis who are aware of the news of civilian victims later admit.

From the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem comes condemnation of what is described as “an Israeli bombing of one of our churches in Gaza City”.

“The church offered shelter to around 500 people, including 5 Caritas staff members, together with their families. At least 17 people lost their lives and others are still under the rubble. Among those protected were 5 dedicated staff members of Caritas Jerusalem, together with their families Inside the hall, a total of 83 people sought safety. Tragically, 26-year-old Viola, a CJ laboratory technician, lost her life along with her child and husband. Among the Viola’s sister and her two children are also victims”, states Caritas Jerusalem.