A building on the premises of the St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church campus in Gaza City was hit by an Israeli strike on Thursday night, causing casualties and damage to one of the oldest churches in the world. The blast occurred while dozens of Palestinian families were sheltering there, seeking refuge from the ongoing Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
According to witnesses and rescuers, several people were injured and some were trapped under the rubble of the church council building, where the explosion took place. About 500 people had been staying on the church campus, including about 80 in the destroyed building. Dozens more were reported to be inside the assembly hall of the church, which was also damaged by the strike.
The St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church is a historic landmark that dates back to the 5th century AD. It is named after a Christian saint who was born in Gaza and became the bishop of the city. The church has survived many wars and invasions throughout history, and has been a symbol of coexistence and tolerance among different faiths in Gaza.
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem condemned the attack on the church compound, calling it a war crime and a violation of international law. It also called for an immediate end to the Israeli aggression against Gaza and for the protection of civilians and holy places.