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Mass is celebrated at Holy Family Church in Gaza City on Friday, the day before an Israeli sniper allegedly shot and killed two women as they walked to the parish compound (OSV News/Holy Family Parish)

Pope Francis yesterday issued a heartfelt appeal for an end to the “terrorism” of war, condemning a reported Israeli military attack on Gaza’s Holy Family Parish, which killed two women and destroyed a Missionaries of Charity convent. Source: Vatican News.

He appealed on Sunday for an end to the war ravaging the Holy Land, praying especially for Christians holed up in the Holy Family Catholic Parish in Gaza.

At the Angelus prayer, the Pope said he continues to receive troubling news from Gaza, where “unarmed civilians are the targets of bombings and gunfire”.

He condemned an attack on the compound of the Catholic parish, “where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick and have disabilities, and nuns.”

“A mother, Mrs Nahida Khalil Anton, and her daughter, Samar Kamal Anton, were killed, and others were wounded by the shooters while they were going to the bathroom,” the Pope said.

“Some say, ‘This is terrorism. This is war.’ Yes, it is war. It is terrorism,” he said. “That is why the Scripture affirms that ‘God stops wars … breaks the bow, splinters the spear’ (Psalm 46:10). Let us pray to the Lord for peace.”

On Saturday, Israeli forces carried out heavy bombardment in the area surrounding Gaza’s only Catholic parish.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement alleging that an IDF tank fired a rocket which struck the Convent of the Missionaries of Charity, destroying the building’s generator and setting off a massive blaze that damaged the house.

Two more rockets reportedly rendered the convent uninhabitable for the 54 people with disabilities for whom the Sisters of Mother Theresa were caring.

Later in the day, the Latin Patriarchate also alleged, an Israeli sniper killed two Christian women who had taken refuge in the Holy Family church compound. Nahida Khalil Anton, an elderly woman, and her daughter, Samar Kamal Anton, had reportedly exited the church building and were walking toward the convent. The sniper reportedly shot and wounded seven other people as they tried to protect others inside the church compound.


Pope condemns attacks on civilians in Gaza: ‘It is war; it is terrorism’ (By Devin Watkins, Vatican News)


Latin Patriarchate says IDF killed women at Gaza parish ‘in cold blood’ (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux)

Two women killed in Israeli attack on Holy Family parish in Gaza (Vatican News)

Two women killed amid Israeli attack at Holy Family Parish in Gaza, Latin Patriarchate says (CNA)