The Israeli military used the locations of a catholic church and a convent in Gaza, which it had obtained from US congressional staff, to later target them with airstrikes and sniper fire, Politico reported citing a series of emails from October.
In an attempt to prevent Israeli strikes on religious sites in Gaza, one of the largest Christian aid organizations there, Catholic Relief Services, passed on the coordinates of several sites in the Strip to Senate staffers, who in turn sent them to Israeli authorities, the report, published on Thursday, highlighted.
According to Politico, the move by the aid organization came in line with attempts to gain a commitment from Israeli authorities not to target at least four buildings in Gaza, including the two that were later struck by the Israeli forces.
On Saturday, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Communication Office, the Catholic body overseeing the region, published a statement condemning Israeli sniper and tank attacks on the Holy Family parish, the only Catholic parish in the Gaza Strip, and the convent of the Missionaries of Charity located in a shared compound in Gaza.
The Communication Office announced the murdering of two Palestinian Christian women by an Israeli occupation forces sniper, who shot the women “in cold blood” inside the premise of the Holy Family Parish, in Gaza, “where there are no belligerents”.
In an official statement, the Office announced that “a sniper of the IDF murdered two Christian women inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, where the majority of Christian families has taken refuge since the start of the war.”
The two women were identified as Nahida Anton and her daughter, Samar Anton. They were shot as they “walked to the Sister’s Convent,” read the statement, explaining that “one was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety.”
It was also noted that “seven more people were shot and wounded as they tried to protect others inside the church compound.”
The refugees were shot with “no warning”, “no notification”, and “in cold blood”.
This happened after a “rocket fired from an IDF tank targeted the Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa (Missionaries of Charity),” according to the statement.
The bombardment destroyed “the building’s generator (the only source of electricity) and the fuel resources,” and another two more rockets targeting the same location rendered the Convent “uninhabitable”.
This left 54 disabled people, who were previously housed in the Convent displaced and without access to their basic needs – such as respirators required for their survival, added the statement.
It is noteworthy that in October, the Ministry of Interior in Gaza confirmed that the Israeli occupation committed a massacre, killing and wounding hundreds of displaced people inside the Greek Orthodox Church of St.Porphyrius in Gaza City — the third oldest church in the world, which dates back to 425 AD.
It was also highlighted that “solar panels and water tanks, which are indispensable for the survival of the community, were destroyed,” making the living circumstances for those who sought refuge in this place of worship significantly more difficult, as has become the situation across all of Gaza.
According to the Ministry, the occupation made a direct target at the ancient church building on Omar al-Mukhtar Street in the Gaza Strip.
The Ministry pointed out that the church contained dozens of displaced people, who were taking shelter inside the church, most of whom were women and children. It stated that severe material damage was caused to parts of the church building and that a building adjacent to the church was destroyed.