Gaza’s Oldest Mosque Destroyed in Israeli Bombing

In the early hours of Friday, as most of the world was still asleep, the rich history of the Gaza Strip took yet another blow.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Gaza’s Oldest Mosque Destroyed in Israeli Bombing
© X/clashreport

In the early hours of Friday, as most of the world was still asleep, the rich history of the Gaza Strip took yet another blow. The Israeli military conducted operations across the region, with one particular strike catching the attention of historians and civilians alike.

The Symbol of Ancient Splendor

The Al-Omari Mosque, known for its robust marble columns and historic significance, was targeted by an Israeli aircraft, leading to its complete devastation. As per the official statement from the Gaza Ministry of Interior, the mosque was left in ruins.

Nestled in the heart of Gaza City near the old market, Al-Omari wasn't just any mosque. Spanning an area of 4,100 square meters, it showcased 38 solid marble columns, bearing testimony to the grandeur of ancient architecture in Gaza.

But what makes the mosque's destruction all the more poignant is its rich tapestry of history. Originally known as the Great Mosque, Al-Omari stands as a testament to the city's multicultural legacy. Built as a church by the Byzantine queen Eudokia, the site was transformed into a mosque following the conquest of Gaza during the reign of Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab.

The mihrab and minbar were erected, symbolizing its transition. Its dual heritage earned it two names: Omari, in honor of Caliph Omar, and the Great Mosque, a nod to its sheer size and prominence, making it the largest in Gaza.

A Monument Marred Multiple Times

This isn't the first time the mosque has witnessed devastation.

Over the centuries, it has been subjected to numerous damages. Its most significant scar before this fateful Friday was during the First World War. British forces, amidst the chaos of war, bombed the iconic structure. Today, as the dust settles and the world awakens to the news of the mosque's ruination, there's a collective grief for the loss of such a significant historical and cultural landmark.

As the people of Gaza mourn their history, it serves as a poignant reminder of the fragile nature of heritage in zones of conflict. It’s not just the bricks and mortar that are lost but the stories, the lineage, and the shared memories that resonate through generations.

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