Gaza’s Christians bury their first casualty of the war | July 27, 2014
"The Christian community in Gaza City, like its counterparts elsewhere in the Middle East, has been shrinking because of both conflict and unemployment.
The ancient Mediterranean seafront city once had a thriving Christian community, especially under British-mandated Palestine that ended in 1948 with the creation of the Jewish state.
Jalila Ayyad’s widower George still had a black eye and bloodstains on his shirt as he processed ahead of her coffin, hours after the air strike that destroyed their home.
Jalila, 60, was the first Christian casualty of a bloody Gaza war. She is also survived by two sons, but one could not be at her funeral because he is in hospital with serious wounds suffered in Sunday afternoon’s Israeli strike.
The simple coffin — white with a black cross — was carried reverently down the marble stairs of the cemetery, and into the chapel of the Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City.
"There are massacres here every day. This is what happens to the Palestinian people. Where’s the world, where’s the international community in all this? The bombs hit and kill — they don’t discriminate between civilian or militant," said one member of the parish.
A relative, George Ayyad, agreed wholeheartedly. He dismissed the idea that Jalila’s death would force more of the already dwindling Christian population out of Gaza.
"If we leave, that’s exactly what the Israelis want. Anyway, where are we supposed to go? This is my homeland," he said. "We Christians have been in Gaza for more than 1,000 years, and we’re staying."
The community’s first casualty, Jalila Ayyad, was born in Jerusalem and also had French nationality.” (via AFP)
Pictures from the funeral of Jalila Ayyad, 60, the first Christian Palestinian, whose body was found under the rubble of her home after an Israeli airstike, at Saint Porfirios Church in Gaza City on July 27, 2014. The debris of a house belonging to Ayyad family, which was targeted in an Israeli air strike, is also seen above. (Pictures by Suhaib Salem/Reuters | 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)