Early reports indicate an overnight explosion at St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City killed at least 40 people — including 19 Christians — who were seeking shelter from bomb blasts, International Christian Concern reported Oct. 20.
About 500 people — including members of Gaza’s Christian minority — had been sheltering in the church since Israel began airstrikes on Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
RELATED: Check out more stories on the Hamas-Israel war here.
Israeli military said a portion of the church building was damaged in a strike on a militant command and control center that was used in carrying out attacks on Israel, and it was reviewing the incident, Reuters reported.
‘Squeezed between two hammers’
Prior to the explosion, International Christian Concern officials had expressed little confidence in the safety of individuals seeking shelter in Gazan churches. In addition to St. Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church, civilians also sheltered at the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church. None were known to be sheltering at Gaza Baptist Church.
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