IDF rebuffs accusations it killed two women at church in Gaza as investigation continues


The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is pushing back against reports concerning two Christian women killed during fighting within the area of Gaza’s only Catholic Church over the weekend.  

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem claimed in a press release Saturday an IDF sniper murdered two Christian women inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, where the majority of Christian families have taken refuge since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas. 

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa wrote in a report, later republished by the Holy See, that a woman named Nahida Khalil Anton and her daughter, Samar Kamal Anton, were “shot and killed as they walked to the Sisters’ Convent.” 

“One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety,” said Pizzaballa, who is also a Catholic cardinal. Seven more people were shot and wounded as they tried to protect others inside the church compound.

ISRAEL’S CHRISTIAN POPULATION GROWS AS CHURCH NUMBERS DWINDLE IN REGION

Catholic authorities said a monastery campus in Gaza was damaged Dec. 16, 2023, in the Israel-Hamas war. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Pizzaballa wrote that a rocket fired from an IDF tank targeted the convent and destroyed the building’s generator. Two more rockets, fired by an IDF tank, he said, targeted the same convent, rendering the home uninhabitable and displacing the 54 disabled people. 

Gaza monastery damaged, Catholic officials say

Catholic authorities said a monastery campus in Gaza was damaged Dec. 16, 2023, in the Israel-Hamas war. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

The IDF says reports on these incidents do match the conclusion of an initial review that found the IDF troopers were targeting Hamas spotters in enemy lookouts. It said this incident occurred “in the area where the two women were reportedly killed.” 

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa, right, leads a mass on Easter Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem April 9, 2023. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images)

Following the reports of two women that were shot in the area of the Latin Church in Shejaya, the IDF has finished conducting an initial review of the incident. The review found that on December 17th, in the early afternoon, Hamas terrorists launched a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) at IDF troops from the vicinity of the church,” the IDF said.

Burning debris in a Gaza monastery campus

Catholic authorities said a monastery campus in Gaza was damaged Dec. 16, 2023, in the Israel-Hamas war. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

 “The troops then identified three people in the vicinity, operating as spotters for Hamas by guiding their attacks in the direction of the IDF troopers. In response, our troops fired towards the spotters and hits were identified.” 

Gaza church window is damaged

Catholic authorities said a monastery campus in Gaza was damaged Dec. 16, 2023, in the Israel-Hamas war. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

The IDF said it “takes claims of strikes on sensitive sites very seriously, especially churches that are holy sites for the Christian faith.”

“The IDF directs its operations against the Hamas terrorist organization and not against civilians, regardless of their religious affiliation. The IDF takes many measures to mitigate harm to civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

Burning debris in the rubble.

Debris still on fire from the destruction of a Church in Gaza. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

The statement concluded, “These efforts stand in contrast to Hamas, (which) does everything in its power to endanger civilians and exploits them, as well as religious sites, as human shields for their terrorist activities.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The parish compound is home to the Missionaries of Charity, an order of female religious members founded by Mother Theresa dedicated to serving the sick and disabled. 

Fox News’ Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *