Pope remembers two parish women killed in Gaza church

Pope remembers two parish women killed in Gaza church
Pope remembers two parish women killed in Gaza church

Pope Francis on Sunday deplored the death of two women in a Catholic parish in Gaza, where he said “defenceless civilians” were targeted by shootings and bombings.

“I continue to receive very serious and painful news from Gaza,” he said at the end of the Angelus prayer. “A mother and her daughter… were killed and other people injured by sniper fire.”

“This happened even inside the parish of the Holy Family where there are no terrorists, but families, children, sick or disabled people,” the pope stressed.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said Saturday that a Christian mother and daughter were shot dead by an Israeli soldier on the grounds of the Gaza Strip’s only Catholic church.

“Around noon (1000 GMT) today… a sniper of the IDF (Israeli army) murdered two Christian women inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza,” where Christian families have been sheltering since the Israel-Hamas war broke out, the patriarchate said in a statement.

“Nahida and her daughter Samar were shot and killed as they walked to the Sister’s Convent. One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety,” it added.

Seven more people were wounded by gunfire as they tried to protect others, the statement said.

“Some say it is terrorism, it’s war,” the pontiff said. “Yes, it’s war, it’s terrorism…. let us pray to the Lord for peace,” he added.

According to the Vatican press agency, citing Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, the victims were an elderly woman and her daughter.

The patriarchate said no warning was given before the shooting started, adding that they were “shot in cold blood”.

The Gaza strip has been hard hit by bombardments and ground operations carried out by the Israeli army since the unprecedented October 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli territory.

The attack saw about 1,140 people killed, mostly civilians, and 250 hostages taken, according to the Israeli authorities’ latest figures.

According to Hamas, Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza has killed 18,800 people, mostly women and children.

According to a report, the IDF sniper kills the two women, mother and daughter inside Gaza church, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem says.

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sniper shot and killed two women inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza on Saturday, according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which oversees Catholic Churches across Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

The majority of Christian families inside Gaza have taken refuge inside the parish since the start of the war, the patriarchate said in a statement.

The two women, described as a mother and daughter, were walking to the Sister’s Convent, the patriarchate said. “One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety,” it added.

Seven others were also shot and wounded in the attack.

“No warning was given, no notification was provided,” the statement continued.

“They were shot in cold blood inside the premises of the parish, where there are no belligerents.”

The patriarchate said that IDF tanks had also targeted the Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa, which houses 54 disabled people and is part of the church’s compound. The building’s generator, its only current source of electricity, as well as its fuel resources, solar panels and water tanks were also destroyed.

IDF rockets had made the convent “uninhabitable,” the statement said.

CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment.

On Friday, UK lawmaker Layla Moran, a member of parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon, said that members of her family sheltering in the church were “beyond desperate and terrified” as conditions continued to worsen.

Moran on November 15 told the UK House of Commons that a family member who had been sheltering in the church had died. Citing accounts from her family, Moran added that electricity generators at the church had stopped.

“[My family] are reporting white phosphorous and gunfire into their compound,” she said. “The bin collector and the janitor have been shot and their bodies are laying outside and remain uncollected.”



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