The quiet of a Saturday morning was shattered in the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, where an Israeli military sniper claimed the lives of two women, a mother and her daughter, according to a statement from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The victims were making their way to the Sister’s Convent when they found themselves in the midst of sudden gunfire.
"One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety," the patriarchate revealed in a somber note.This incident marks a severe escalation in the ongoing conflict, bringing the war's brutality into a place of peace and sanctuary.
“They were shot in cold blood inside the premises of the parish, where there are no belligerents”.
International Outcry and Papal Condemnation
The incident drew immediate international attention, with Pope Francis addressing the tragedy during his weekly Angelus prayer.
“I continue receiving very serious and sad news about Gaza.
Unarmed civilians are targets for bombs and gunfire. And this has happened even within the parish complex of the Holy Family, where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick and have disabilities, sisters,” he said, painting a vivid picture of the innocent lives caught in the crossfire.
The Pope further remarked, “Some are saying, ‘This is terrorism and war.’ Yes, it is war, it is terrorism. That is why Scripture says that ‘God puts an end to war… the bow he breaks and the spear he snaps.’”His words not only mourn the loss but also condemn the violence, urging an end to the conflict.
Adding to the tragedy, the patriarchate disclosed that Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tanks had also targeted the Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa within the church's compound. This facility, home to 54 disabled individuals, suffered severe damage.
“IDF rockets had made the convent uninhabitable,” the statement said, detailing the destruction of the building's generator, fuel resources, solar panels, and water tanks.