Israeli sniper kills two Christians in Gaza, Latin Patriarchate says

Israeli sniper kills two Christians in Gaza, Latin Patriarchate says

(OSV News) — The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem denounced a series of attacks on Christians in Gaza by Israeli forces, including the killing of a mother and daughter at a Catholic parish.

In a statement released Dec. 16, the patriarchate said that earlier in the day, an Israel Defense Forces sniper shot and killed Nahida and her daughter Samar (no last name was given) as they walked to a convent in the Holy Family Parish compound in Gaza.

While avoiding language that directly criticized the IDF, the patriarchate stated that the mother and daughter were “murdered.”

“One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety,” the patriarchate said, adding that seven more people were shot and wounded while trying to protect others in the church compound.

“No warning was given, no notification was provided,” the statement said. “They were shot in cold blood inside the premises of the parish, where there are no belligerents.”

The Latin Patriarchate also said that the same day, an IDF tank launched a rocket that targeted a Missionaries of Charity convent that is home to “54 disabled persons and is part of the church compound, which was signaled as a place of worship since the beginning of the war.”

After destroying its generator and fuel resources, the patriarchate said, the tank fired two more rockets that “rendered the home uninhabitable,” leaving the displaced persons without a home and “without access to the respirators that some of them need to survive.”

Expressing its condolences to the victims and their families, the Latin Patriarchate called the attack a “senseless tragedy.”

“At the same time, we cannot but express that we are at a loss to comprehend how such an attack could be carried out, even more so as the whole church prepares for Christmas,” the statement said.

News of the attack on innocent civilians came a day after Israel faced mounting criticism at home and abroad for its conduct in the country’s war against Hamas after IDF soldiers mistakenly shot and killed three Israeli hostages.