Gaza City suffers more destruction as several people who were sheltering in a Greek Orthodox church are killed in an explosion.
The 12th century church of Saint Porphyrius was hit in a strike which caused ‘huge damage’ and ‘many casualties’ according to reports by Hamas.
The attack comes just days after an explosion at al-Ahli hospital which claimed the lives of up to 300 people and sparked a venomous blame game between Israel, Hamas and their allies.
In a statement Hamas said Israel had attacked the church, but this has not been independently confirmed at this stage. It’s understood that at least two women have died and many others have been injured in the attack, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem said targeting the church ‘constitutes a war crime’.
US intelligence has found that Israel was ‘probably not’ responsible for Tuesday’s explosion at the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza.
According to an unclassified assessment sent to Capitol Hill by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ‘only light structural damage at the hospital’ was reported, after earlier reports suggested the explosion had ‘torn through’ the entire building.
‘Israel Probably Did Not Bomb Gaza Strip Hospital: We judge that Israel was not responsible for an explosion that killed hundreds of civilians yesterday [17 October] at the Al Ahli Hospital in the Gaza Strip,’ the assessment obtained by CNN states.
‘Our assessment is based on available reporting, including intelligence, missile activity, and open-source video and images of the incident’, it added.
The US intelligence community also estimated that the total number of deaths from the hospital blast were at the ‘low end of the 100-to-300 spectrum,’ according to the assessment, a lower number than figures initially cited by Hamas of more than 500.
The intelligence community ‘observed only light structural damage at the hospital,’ with no observable damage to the main hospital building and no impact craters, according to the assessment.
‘We see only light damage to the roofs of two structures near the main hospital building, but both structures remained intact,’ the assessment states.