Israel Bombs and Destroys 1,500 year old Christian Orthodox Church


Last night Israeli warplanes bombarded the Church of Saint Porphyry in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood of southern Gaza, killing a girl and injuring dozens of people with various injuries and causing severe material damage to parts of the church building while a building adjacent to the church was destroyed.

However, according to Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Gaza City, at least two people were killed and many others were injured. They had gone to the church to find shelter.

The church is a few meters away from the National Arab Baptist Hospital, which is affiliated with the Anglican Episcopal Church in Jerusalem, where it was bombed last Tuesday, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians.

About 1,000 Palestinian Christians live in Gaza, the majority of whom belong to the Orthodox and Catholic churches, in addition to the presence of the Baptist church.

Some Christian civilians took refuge in churches and their attached buildings, after the houses of some of them were destroyed as a result of the shelling, and sought shelter.

The Church of Saint Porphyry is the oldest Christian church in the Gaza Strip. It is located near a mosque in the historic quarter of Gaza City and, according to tradition, houses the remains of Saint Porphyry, who was bishop of Gaza in the 5th century.

It is not far from the Al Ahli hospital that was hit on Tuesday night, killing 471 people, according to Hamas’ tally. The Islamist group blamed Israel for the massacre at the hospital, while the Israeli military denied responsibility and blamed the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The number of Christians in the Gaza Strip has declined in recent years. It is estimated that there are less than a thousand left (most of whom are Orthodox), while before Hamas took power in Gaza (2007), Christians numbered more than seven thousand.