Civilians said they are trapped in Gaza‘s only Catholic church after an alleged IDF sniper gunned down two women outside the building.
Those still trapped in the Holy Family Church are terrified of moving out of fear of being shot, according to Fifi Saba, whose sister, brother-in-law and two nephews aged 9 and 12 are still in the church.
‘The fear they have been living is unreal,’ Ms Saba, who now lives in the US, told the BBC.
This comes after Samar and her elderly mother Nahida, who had sought refuge from the relentless Israeli bombardments in the territory’s only Catholic church, were killed.
Yesterday, in broad daylight, Samar and Nahida Khalil Anton had walked together across the courtyard of the Holy Family Catholic Church to use the only bathroom, thinking that they wouldn’t be a target for the Israeli troops.
But within seconds of them reaching the courtyard, the sickening sound of screams and the crackle of a gunfire filled the air.
An alleged Israeli sniper had shot dead one of the women, and as the second screamed and tried in vain to carry the body of her loved-one to safety, she too was killed, it has been claimed.
Their bloodied bodies are still strewn across the floor of the church courtyard after they were reportedly attacked by the IDF sniper, in what has been described as an act of ‘terrorism’ by Pope Francis.
‘They were terrified to go to the bathroom, because the women were shot trying to get to the toilet,’ Ms Saba said and added that her sister and others in the church believed ‘the Israelis were shooting at anything that moves’.
The situation for those trapped in the church is getting more dire as the water has been cut off for a few days and food was running out, according to Ms Saba, who only receives updates on her sister via a relative who speaks to her once a day.
There was no warning given to Samar and Nahida, who had been merely walking towards the Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa within the compound, before they were shot in ‘cold blood’, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.
‘One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety. No warning was given, no notification was provided. They were shot in cold blood inside the premises of the Parish, where there are no belligerents,’ it said.
Seven more people were shot and wounded by Israeli forces as they tried to protect others inside the compound from the deadly assault.
Nahida’s heartbroken son Issa shared a picture of his mother and sister, saying his ‘heart was broken’ following their deaths.
My beloved mother, may Allah have mercy on you, my crown and the light of my eyes,’ Issa said. ‘Mum, our hearts are broken after you. My dear sister Samar, the light of my eyes, may Allah have mercy on your soul.’