Date: October 12, 2023
Israel-Gaza (International Christian Concern) – On Saturday, Oct. 7, Hamas militants launched a deadly attack on southern Israel from the Gaza enclave, which they have controlled since 2007. The attacks came with thousands of rockets and ground incursions that broke through the Israeli blockade on Gaza. The attacks killed more than 1,000 Israelis, with the death toll continuing to mount as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) regains control of towns close to the Gaza border.
Israelis grieve the loss of life as reports of massacres of civilian life at a festival and a kibbutz emerge. Israel has responded by declaring war on Hamas and conducting several days of unprecedented airstrikes on hundreds of locations across the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip, inflicting incredible suffering and destruction with few options for the safety of Gazan civilians. Thousands have been injured and killed on both sides, with civilian casualties continuing to mount.
In the area affected by the conflict, there are very small Christian minorities present who are greatly suffering in the war. Gaza is home to a rapidly shrinking and beleaguered Christian community that has been pressured from all sides. Gaza’s Christians have suffered with the region’s more than 2 million inhabitants through the 16-year-long blockade and have witnessed multiple humanitarian crises through economic collapse, crumbling health services, travel restrictions and conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Islamic terrorist elements within Gaza have also resulted in Christians being attacked, such as the 2007 Bible Society tragedy, which resulted in great fear among churches in associating with persecuted secret Christians from Muslim backgrounds.
In Israel, both Jewish (Messianic) and Arab Christians experience pressures for their faith from radical Jewish groups and can sometimes be treated as second-class citizens in the Jewish state. The small Jewish (Messianic) Christian community also suffers collectively in terrorist attacks from groups such as Hamas that spring from deep-seated anti-Semitic sentiment in radical Islamic terrorist groups in the Palestinian territories.
International Christian Concern (ICC) is monitoring the situation and continues to serve persecuted Christians bravely shining for Jesus Christ in these areas affected by war in the Middle East. ICC is praying for a peaceful de-escalation of this conflict, an end to cycles of death, revenge, and hatred, and for a future of freedom and peace for both Israeli and Palestinian Christians.
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for peace in this region. Pray for protection for the many innocent people caught in crossfire. Pray for provision for those who have been displaced.