At least 18 Palestinian Christians were killed by an Israeli airstrike that took place near a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City on Thursday evening, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.
The ministry said last night, dozens of Christian casualties arrived in al-Shifaa hospital following an attack targeting a place near the Church of Saint Porphyrius, which led to the falling over of a wall of the church and injured the Christians taking shelter inside.
In a press statement sent to Xinhua, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said that “more than 400 people, Christians and Muslims, were taking shelter at the church in a bid to avoid the Israeli airstrikes.”
Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement on Friday that its fighter jets on Thursday night targeted the command and control center belonging to Hamas militants, from where rockets and mortars toward Israel were launched.
The IDF confirmed that its strike damaged a wall of a nearby church, adding that “we are aware of reports of casualties, and the incident is under review.”
It unequivocally stated that “the church was not the target of the strike,” noting that “Hamas intentionally embeds its assets in civilian areas.”
The IDF also called on the residents in northern Gaza to evacuate in accordance with its instructions so as to minimize harm to civilians.
On Oct. 7, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) launched a surprise attack on Israeli military targets and towns adjacent to the Gaza Strip, prompting extensive Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.
The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, as it entered the 14th day, has killed more than 5,000 people on both sides.