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10/19/2023 Gaza (International Christian Concern) –  As war continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday evening, a rocket hit the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, resulting in an explosion that killed around 400 people in addition to hundreds injured. Hamas attributes it to one of the hundreds of Israeli strikes on that same day: Israel denies that they hit the hospital and has offered alternative intelligence that it was a misfired rocket coming from militants in Gaza that had hit the hospital. 

Regardless of the disputed source, the strike on the hospital has become a central negotiation point in calls for a humanitarian corridor to be set up for aid to reach civilians in Gaza.  

The hospital has been serving Gaza since 1882 and was locally known as the Baptist Hospital, having been a Baptist Mission hospital for decades. The Anglican Dioceses of Jerusalem has been funding and operating it for the past several decades.  

The dioceses declared a day of mourning, with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem issuing a statement, “As we grieve the loss of countless souls who perished on our premises, we declare a day of mourning in all our churches and institutions. We beseech our friends, partners, and individuals of goodwill to stand in solidarity, mourning with us the heinous assault on our dedicated staff and vulnerable patients.” 

The hospital compound was adjacent to St. Porphyrius Church, the Greek Orthodox church in Gaza, one of the primary places of shelter for the small Christian community in Gaza since the beginning of the war. Though there were some reported minor building damage, there were no reports of any casualties in the church.  

Archbishop Hosam Naoum in Jerusalem said in a press conference, “We, not only as the Anglican church but as all churches, are determined to keep our institutions open, to keep our churches open, as places of sanctuary, especially to those who are disadvantaged and those who are vulnerable.”  

Pray for the Christian community in the “Holy Land” as they continue to fulfill their Christian mission in this time of crisis.  

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