News Palestinian Territories | 20-10-2023

Christian hospital bombed in Gaza


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The ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza has led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of people injured or homeless. Christians in the region share what they're witnessing and how their churches are responding.

News outlets around the world are reporting on the bombing of Al-Ahli Hospital on Tuesday 17 October, in which hundreds of people were killed. The exact number is not known, but an Open Doors contact in the region says it is more than 500 people. The hospital is the only Christian hospital in Gaza - one which Brother Andrew once visited. The bombing also damaged the nearby Baptist church, though nobody at that place was injured. The attack is not believed to have targeted the hospital because of its Christian affiliation.
  Both Israelis and Palestinians have blamed the other side for the bombing - with Palestinian sources say the Israeli army is responsible, while the Israeli government denies this and says it is caused by a failed rocket launch of the organisation Islamic Jihad. Either way, hundreds of people were killed who were being treated at the hospital, or who were sheltering on its grounds because it was believed to be a safe place, with many more injured.

Finding refuge in churches

Most of the 1,000+ Christians in Gaza are finding refuge at churches in the city. Bishop Alexis yesterday wrote: “Until there is at least one Christian in the territory of Gaza, I won’t go anywhere, because I can be a hope for them, so I’ll stay in the province that believes in me. If I die I’ll have a decent death as my portion!"

An Open Doors contact in the region is in touch with Christians sheltering in churches. "Today, communication with them is very difficult as they don’t have any energy left, and the WiFi was very weak in the past days," he says. "They have enough food/water for two, three days."

Please pray for the many families who lost loved ones. Please pray that our brothers and sisters in the other churches will stay safe. Pray that civilians’ lives will no longer be endangered in the Palestinian Territories or in Israel.

18 Christians killed in church bombing

In a separate incident, 18 Christians were killed in an explosion next to a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza city. 

“The number of Christians killed in the latest bombing is rising by the minute," shared a church leader in the West Bank. "There's a lot of grief, sadness and hopelessness among the Christians in Gaza. They thought staying in the church was the better option. They all want to leave Gaza. But that will depend on if they can; I don’t know when and how they will leave.”

please pray

Sovereign God, I pray for peace in Israel and Gaza – for an end to hostilities and for peacemakers on both sides. Comfort all who mourn and all who are waiting to hear news of missing loved ones. Give boldness and compassion to Christians on both sides to shine the light of Christ in their communities, and equip national and international leaders with wisdom. May Your will be done, and may Your loving kindness be evident to all. Amen.

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