ASIA/HOLY LAND - In the Catholic community in Gaza: Two women killed by Israeli army snipers

Saturday, 16 December 2023 area crisis   local churches   wars  


Gaza (Agenzia Fides) - The two women, Nahida and Samar Anton, mother and daughter, were killed on Saturday December 16 by an Israeli army sniper in the Catholic parish in Gaza, dedicated to the Holy Family and where the majority of Christian families have taken refuge since the start of the war.

The two women - according to a detailed report from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem - were killed as they walked to the Sister’s Convent. One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety. Seven more people were shot and wounded by Israeli military snipers as they tried to protect others inside the church compound.

The Latin Patriarchate's report emphasizes that the Israeli army gave "no warning" and that the victims were shot "in cold blood inside the parish premises where there are no belligerants", within the parish complex, which is used as a place of worship, prayer and a refuge for defenseless and needy people.

Before the early morning killing of Nahida and Samar, an Israeli army tank fired a rocket at the Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa, which is home to 54 people with disabilities and is part of the church compound. The building’s generator (the only source of electricity) and the fuel resources were destroyed. The house was damaged by the resulting explosion and massive fire. As the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem reports, the 54 people with disabilities are currently displaced and without access to the respirators "that some of them need to survive."

In addition, as a result of the heavy bombing in the area, three people were wounded inside the church compound last night. Furthermore, solar panels three and water tanks, which are "indispensable for the survival of the community" were destroyed.

The report published by the Patriarchate concludes by expressing solidarity in prayer with all the families "affected by this tragedy". "We cannot understand," concludes the Patriarchate’s report, "how such an attack could be carried out, even more so as the whole Church prepares for Christmas." (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 16/12/2023)