Former Congressman Says Relatives Died In Bombing At Gaza Orthodox Church
Former Congressman Justin Amash said several of his relatives died at Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza.
Amash, a former Republican and Libertarian from Michigan’s 3rd District, was the first Palestinian-American member of Congress.
“I was really worried about this. With great sadness, I have now confirmed that several of my relatives (including Viola and Yara pictured here) were killed at Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza, where they had been sheltering, when part of the complex was destroyed as the result of an Israeli airstrike. Give rest, O Lord, to their souls, and may their memories be eternal,” Amash said Friday.
“The Palestinian Christian community has endured so much. Our family is hurting badly. May God watch over all Christians in Gaza—and all Israelis and Palestinians who are suffering, whatever their religion or creed,” he added.
I was really worried about this. With great sadness, I have now confirmed that several of my relatives (including Viola and Yara pictured here) were killed at Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza, where they had been sheltering, when part of the complex was destroyed as… pic.twitter.com/w5k1xEeTgF
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) October 20, 2023
The Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza, believed to be the third-oldest church in the world, was reportedly hit by an Israeli strike Thursday night.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued this statement:
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem expresses its strongest condemnation of the Israeli airstrike that have struck its church compound in the city of Gaza.
The Patriarchate emphasizes that targeting churches and their institutions, along with the shelters they provide to protect innocent citizens, especially children and women who have lost their homes due to Israeli airstrikes on residential areas over the past thirteen days, constitutes a war crime that cannot be ignored.
Despite the evident targeting of the facilities and shelters of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and other churches – including the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem Hospital, other schools, and social institutions – the Patriarchate, along with the other churches, remain committed to fulfilling its religious and moral duty in providing assistance, support, and refuge to those in need, amidst continuous Israeli demands to evacuate these institutions of civilians and the pressures exerted on the churches in this regard.
The Patriarchate stresses that it will not abandon its religious and humanitarian duty, rooted in its Christian values, to provide all that is necessary in times of war and peace alike.
The Israeli military denied accusations that it targeted the church in its strike.
“The ancient Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza was reportedly damaged in a deadly Israeli airstrike that struck an adjacent building, destroyed the Church’s assembly hall and killed Christians and Palestinian refugees,” Chris Menahan of Information Liberation wrote.
The ancient Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza was reportedly damaged in a deadly Israeli airstrike that struck an adjacent building, destroyed the Church’s assembly hall and killed Christians and Palestinian refugees.https://t.co/VgmxNa0e0X
— Chris Menahan (@infolibnews) October 19, 2023
“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday tweeted and then swiftly deleted video confirming the Israeli Airforce conducted an airstrike right next to the ancient Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza,” he added.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday tweeted and then swiftly deleted video confirming the Israeli Airforce conducted an airstrike right next to the ancient Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/KkOyogVUqA
— Chris Menahan (@infolibnews) October 20, 2023
“The IDF released footage of the strike near the Church of Saint Porphyrius. Appears to indicate that the Israeli Air Force targeted an adjacent building, but missed and hit the street adjacent to the church compound, collapsing the assembly hall,” OSINTtechnical stated.
The IDF released footage of the strike near the Church of Saint Porphyrius.
Appears to indicate that the Israeli Air Force targeted an adjacent building, but missed and hit the street adjacent to the church compound, collapsing the assembly hall. pic.twitter.com/AwkvQzejvs
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) October 20, 2023
“The IDF admitted to Reuters that they damaged ‘part’ of the church and said they’re ‘reviewing the incident,’” Menahan noted.
The IDF admitted to Reuters that they damaged “part” of the church and said they’re “reviewing the incident.”
— Chris Menahan (@infolibnews) October 20, 2023
The Israeli military said its fighter jets had hit a nearby command and control centre that was used to carry out attacks against Israel.
“As a result of the IDF strike, a wall of a church in the area was damaged. We are aware of reports on casualties. The incident is under review,” it said.
“The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) can unequivocally state that the Church was not the target of the strike,” it said.
Witnesses said however the damage inside the church was extensive.
“This shows that the targets of the Israeli occupation are the unarmed people, children, women and the elderly,” the
Palestinian Churches Council, appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement.
Israel has pounded densely-populated Gaza, flattening buildings and destroying infrastructure, since Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7 and killed 1,400 people.
More than 4,100 people in Gaza have since been killed by Israeli strikes and more than a million have been made homeless, according to Palestinian health officials. Civilians say their situation is desperate as they run short of food, water, fuel and medical supplies.
— Ron Paul Institute (@RonPaulInstitut) October 20, 2023
From the Ron Paul Institute:
Former US Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI), who was the only US House Member representing the Libertarian Party, announced today on Twitter/X that several of his relatives were killed when Israel bombed Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza. Amash’s relatives, along with many others, were seeking shelter in the Church as Israel continues to flatten Gaza.
As one commenter on Amash’s thread pointed out, Saint Porphyrius Church “symbolized coexistence. It’s worth noting that this church is located near the Jewish Quarter in Gaza as well.”
Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church is the third oldest existing Christian church in the world, standing very nearly since the time of Christ. Another commenter on Twitter added that “Gaza’s oldest church the Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius”…was a refuge for at least 380 civilians. At least 40 have been reported dead and more searches continue among the rubble.”
Former Rep. Justin Amash, the first Palestinian-American to serve in Congress, posted online that his family members were killed in Gaza amid the ongoing airstrikes between Israel and militant group Hamas. https://t.co/l9LxJ8iOJI
— The Hill (@thehill) October 20, 2023
Al Jazeera wrote:
The Greek Orthodox church – the oldest in the city, located in the Zaytoun neighbourhood – has traditionally served as a sanctuary for both Christians and Muslims during Israel’s periodic wars against Gaza.
The church was sheltering hundreds of people when an Israeli bomb severely damaged one of the four buildings in its compound on Thursday evening, causing its ceiling to collapse and leaving dozens trapped under slabs of concrete, according to witnesses.
By Friday afternoon, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem told Al Jazeera at least 18 people were confirmed to have been killed, including several children.
“The building that they bombed is beside the church,” said Jahsan, still shaken from what he says was a massive blast. “We just pray to god to end this war.”
About 200 children, women, elderly and sick people were taking shelter at the church when Israeli warplanes targeted the building with two raids, said Ibrahim Al-Souri, another survivor who had also been taking shelter.