Gaza death toll hits 4,137 as Israel acknowledges church bombing

The Greek Orthodox church has been severely damaged in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, Palestine, Oct. 20, 2023. (EPA Photo)

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza from indiscriminate Israeli attacks has climbed to 4,137, according to the besieged enclave’s Health Ministry Friday.

The number of injured has risen to 13,300, ministry spokesman Ashraf Qudra told a news conference, adding that over 1,000 others were missing.

At least 16 Palestinian Christians were among those killed in direct Israeli airstrikes on a Greek Orthodox church Thursday evening in Gaza city.

“Seven hospitals in the Gaza strip are completely out of service due to Israeli attacks,” said Qudra.

The Israeli army later Friday acknowledged bombing Gaza’s Church of St. Porphyrius, one of the oldest churches in the region.

“Fighter aircraft targeted the headquarters of a military member of the Hamas (Palestinian) organization, involved in firing rockets and mortar shells towards the territory of the State of Israel,” the Israeli army’s press office told Anadolu Agency (AA).

The office added: “The aircraft launched a raid on the target, and (with) the ‘explosion wave’ resulting from the raid, the wall of a church located in the area was damaged.”

Israel is “aware of injuries is known to us and the circumstances of the accident are being investigated,” it added.

The brutal Israeli air attack on Gaza began on two weeks ago in response to the Oct. 7 surprise incursion by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas. Israeli casualties were reported to be around 1,400.


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