Gaza Christians Trapped In Houses Amid Palestinian Violence And Air Strikes

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

GAZA/JERUSALEM (BosNewsLife) -- As night fell, "hungry" and "frightened" Christians remained trapped in their houses in Gaza on Monday, May 21, as rival Palestinian factions continued their battles while Israel increased air strikes against militants, a Christian aid group said.

Barnabas Fund told BosNewsLife that a Christian leader has expressed concerns about "the great fear in the hearts of Christians" in Gaza.

"As conflict has erupted between [the] Hamas and Fatah [groups] and the Israeli army launched attacks [against militants firing rockets into Israel] the small Christian minority feels very vulnerable," explained Barnabas Fund, which supports Christians living in difficult circumstances.

"Our brothers and sisters are caught in the middle of this conflict, innocently suffering and vulnerable to the violence around them. Their plight is desperate," Barnabas Fund's International Director Patrick Sookhdeo told BosNewsLife.


An estimated 3,000 Christians still live in Gaza, which has a population of about 1.5 million. "While Christians are not the direct target of any attacks, they are still caught up in the conflict between other groups," Barnabas Fund said, adding that a "recent Israeli attack" destroyed a Christian home, although no one was injured.

"Like most of the other ordinary citizens of Gaza, the Christians are afraid to leave their homes. Most Christians are already very poor, with many unemployed, and now their needs are growing as they are unable to get to shops for their food," the group said in a statement. "They depend on the church for support, as it is unlikely that Islamic charities will assist them. But the church needs help from outside to meet their needs."

Barnabas Fund said it was sending assistance through church leaders in Gaza "so that our Christian family in the Holy Land will be fed and cared for." Sookhdeo said the Palestinian Christians are "looking to their church for support, but the church can only help if the wider Church family around the world is also willing to help." (With BosNewsLife reporting).

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