With deep sadness we hear from Caritas Jerusalem that one of their staff in Gaza, Viola (26 yrs old) lost her life along with her young toddler and her husband, her sister and her two children in the missile attack on a building in the compound of St. Porphyrius Parish Church in Gaza on the night of Thursday 19th October, just two days after the devastation of the Christian Al Ahli Hospital. Prior to this attack around 500 people had been sheltering in this Orthodox Church.

We have received this update from Fr Gabriel Romanelli, Parish Priest of Holy Family Catholic Church, Gaza on the attack and its aftermath -

"On Thursday night, one of the buildings of the St. Porphyrius Parish Church in Gaza, belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church, was destroyed. Falling on the hundreds of parishioners who these days sought refuge there. It was at dusk. No light. People were trying to sleep. The fatalities are many: 18 so far and many injured, some seriously and there are about ten people still under the rubble.

An Orthodox parishioner has asked me to share the photos he took of the funeral today. He, along with his wife and one of his sons, were there during the bombing, and they made it out safely. But friends and relatives left their lives there. Many wounded were taken to our parish of Holy Family as there is no room for everyone in hospitals. Several seriously injured people are in hospital. There are now more than 700 sheltering in our parish; more than 50 children with disabilities, elderly people who are very sick and bedridden, and now the injured, makes the whole situation more critical than ever."

We ask for your prayers for the dead and this small vulnerable Christian community who are courageously reaching out to their neighbours to offer shelter, the Holy Family Catholic Parish numbers around 150 members in total. Friends of the Holy Land has managed to get some funds into the parish last week for them to buy water, tinned food, medicines and other essentials from the very limited supplies available, as there is no international humanitarian aid reaching them. We will continue to do this as long as we can, your generous help in support of this effort is much appreciated, please donate online for speed. 

To see the other photos, click here