The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Roman Catholic diocese for the region, accused an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sniper of killing two women and injuring seven other church members at the Holy Family Parish in Gaza on Saturday.The statement said the church is where the “majority of Christian families [have] taken refuge since the start of the war.” The church also asserts that the IDF gave no warning and that the victims were “shot in cold blood inside the premises of the Parish.” The two dead are a mother and her daughter. Catholic officials also said that IDF rockets targeted and hit the Covenant of the Sisters of Mother Theresa, which displaced 54 disabled people without access to respirators.Pope Francis condemned the incident in his weekly blessing on Sunday, saying:I continue to receive very grave and painful news from Gaza. Unarmed civilians are the objects of bombings and shootings. And this happened even inside the Holy Family parish complex, where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick or disabled, nuns.He went on to say that “it is terrorism” and urged a peaceful resolution.The Times of Israel reported that the IDF said it was “looking into the incident” when approached for comment. The IDF has said that it is trying to mitigate civilian casualties, stating:Israel’s military operations in Gaza are solely directed at Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other armed groups. The IDF does not intentionally target civilians or seek to harm the civilian population. As described above, the present hostilities were forced upon Israel, and while the IDF is bound to mitigate civilian harm in accordance with the law of armed conflict, it is first and foremost Hamas that bears the responsibility for the widespread suffering it has caused by instigating the hostilities on October 7 and using civilians as human shields.The current Israel-Hamas war began on October 7 when Hamas initiated several attacks on Israel. Shortly after the attacks, Israel declared war on Hamas and began heavily bombing the Gaza Strip. Both Israel and Hamas have been accused of multiple war crimes throughout the conflict. A deal was reached between Israel and Hamas in late November for a humanitarian pause, which was later extended but has since ended. The Gaza Health Ministry says that the death toll in Gaza has reached 19,088. On Saturday, the UN workers delivering medical supplies to the Al-Shifa Hospital in north Gaza described the emergency department as a “bloodbath” with hundreds of injured people inside and a constant flow of new patients. Last week, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

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