In an attempt to escape from Israeli bombing about 1,000 Palestinians from Gaza sought refuge in the 12th century Greek Orthodox church. Moreover, about 1,400 Christians, Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants live among 1.8 million Muslims in Gaza.
According to Reuters, the church of Saint Porfyrius, dating from the time of the Crusades, is not a particularly safe haven since shortly after the Palestinians arrival, an Israeli aircraft bombed a nearby field, causing fragments which reached the church and caused damage to graves.
Some of the children were from the district Setzagia in which at least 73 Palestinians, many of them women and children, were killed on Sunday by Israeli bombing were playing soccer today in the churchyard. Their mothers were attended seated on mattresses and plastic chairs that the church had provided as well as food, blankets and toys.
The Archbishop Alexios stated that : “It is our duty to protect them ‘
“We opened the church to help people. It is the duty of the church and we will do what we can to help them, “said the Archbishop Alexios, head of the Greek Orthodox minority in Gaza, the largest Christian minority in the region, and added:” In the beginning was 600 people and today they reached a thousand, mainly women and children. Some of these children are just one week old. The nearby mosque and neighbors of the church also help. We still need mattresses, blankets, food and especially oil and we suffer from blackouts. If there is no electricity, we do not have water. ”
Refugees who left Setzagia in eastern Gaza and sought refuge in the church do not know where else they could go. Tzaoucher Zoukar, which left the Setzagia with her children said: “We left our homes and came here and they bombed the church. Where should we go? Let us know where to go”.