16 December 2023

Catholic cardinal condemns ‘seemingly deliberate’ sniper attack at Gaza church

16 December 2023

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has condemned the “seemingly deliberate and callous killing” of two women at a Gaza church by sniper fire.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said two Christian women at a church compound in Gaza City were killed on Saturday by Israeli sniper fire and seven others were wounded.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has said that her relatives are among the Christians who have sought shelter in the Holy Family Church.

The women were identified as a mother and daughter, with one killed trying to carry the other to safety. There was no immediate Israeli comment.

Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols said he was “heartbroken” at the news.

“The information provided by the Cardinal, gives a picture of seemingly deliberate and callous killing by IDF soldiers of innocent civilians: an elderly woman and her daughter in the grounds of a church. This killing has to stop. It can never be justified.

“I ask all people of faith and goodwill to continue to pray for an end to this conflict by all sides.”

The statement from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose territory covers Cyprus, Jordan, Israel and Palestine, said the women were killed in “cold blood”.

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

Ms Moran has expressed deep concern about the situation inside the church complex.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, she said: “Soldiers are at the gates and there was a fire when they hit one of the (already dysfunctional) generators.

“There is no water left. There are 300 people there. We don’t know why this is happening. Are they going to be expelled from a church just days before Christmas?”

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