Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Condemns Israeli Bombing of Catholic School in Gaza

Four people were reported killed in the school that was sheltering civilians

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Catholic authority in the Middle East, has strongly condemned the Israeli bombing of a Catholic school in Gaza City, which killed at least four Palestinians.

“The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem is monitoring, with grave concern, the news of the raids, apparently launched by the Israeli army against the Holy Family School in Gaza this morning. Footage and media reports from the place include scenes of civilian casualties and of destruction in the compound,” the Latin Patriarchate said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement says that the school, which is the property of the Latin Patriarchate, has been “a place of refuge for hundreds of civilians” and that “no religious personnel” currently reside there.

“The Latin Patriarchate condemns in the strongest terms the targeting of civilians or any belligerent actions that fall short of ensuring that civilians remain outside the combat scene,” the statement reads. “We continue to pray for the Lord’s mercy and hope that the Parties will reach an agreement that would put an immediate end to the horrifying bloodbath and humanitarian catastrophe in the region.”

Palestinians inspect the Holy Family School, which shelters displaced people after it was hit in an Israeli strike on July 7, 2024. REUTERS/Ayman Al Hassi

Gaza’s civil defense agency said among those killed in the strike was Ehab al-Ghussein, Gaza’s deputy secretary of labor. “Civil Defense crews in Gaza Governorate were able to retrieve four martyrs and a number of injured individuals after Israeli occupation aircraft targeted the ‘Holy Family’ school, which houses a large number of displaced persons west of Gaza City,” the Civil Defense Directorate said, according to CNN. Al-Ghussein’s sister and wife were previously killed by Israeli airstrikes.

Sami El-Yousef, the CEO of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told the Catholic News Agency that the priest and other people based at the Holy Family Church in Gaza City could not confirm the casualties in the strike on the school since it was unsafe to travel there. Over the weekend, Israel ordered another mass evacuation from most of Gaza City and escalated military operations.

“We don’t have accurate numbers because our own parish priest and members of the community could not get to the location because there’s intensive fighting around the parish,” El-Yousef said. “It’s too dangerous for anyone to actually leave. We cannot really with any certainty verify the number of people killed and injured.”

In December, the Holy Family Parish came under Israeli siege. Two Catholic women were killed by Israeli gunfire, and seven people were wounded, an attack Pope Francis denounced as “terrorism.”

Gaza’s Orthodox Christians have also been targeted by the Israeli military. In October, an Israeli airstrike hit part of the Greek Orthodox St. Porphyrius Church in Gaza City, killing at least 18 Palestinian civilians, including relatives of former US House Rep. Justin Amash. At the time, about 500 Christian and Muslim Palestinians were sheltering there.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.