Former US Congressman says relatives killed in Israeli Gaza church airstrike
"The Palestinian Christian community has endured so much. Our family is hurting badly," Amash wrote on social media platform X.
"May God watch over all Christians in Gaza – and all Israelis and Palestinians who are suffering, whatever their religion or creed."
Palestinian officials said at least 500 Muslims and Christians had taken shelter from Israeli bombardments in the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius, and the Gaza health ministry said 16 Palestinian Christians, as well as scores of Muslims, were killed.
I was really worried about this. 😔 With great sadness, I have now confirmed that several of my relatives (including Viola and Yara pictured here) were killed at Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza, where they had been sheltering, when part of the complex was destroyed as… pic.twitter.com/w5k1xEeTgF— Justin Amash (@justinamash) October 20, 2023
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem condemned the strike in a statement.
The Israeli military said part of the church was damaged in what it claimed was a strike on a nearby militant command centre.
Amash, a Palestinian American, represented Michigan as a Republican in the US House of Representatives from 2011 to 2021.
A vocal critic of former Republican President Donald Trump, Amash left the party in 2019 and later joined the Libertarian Party.
Israel has besieged Gaza since 2007, a blockade it tightened following Hamas's surprise attack inside Israeli territory on 7 October. The attack killed 1,400 people.
Israel launched a devastating and indiscriminate bombing campaign against the strip. More than 4,100 Palestinians have been killed, most of them women and children, and more than a million Palestinians have been left homeless.