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'Gaza stands alone to defend Islamic, Christian holy sites'

October 28, 2023 at 7:45 pm

A view of the area in the city of Khan Yunis, Gaza where some buildings collapsed or heavily damaged in Israeli airstrikes on October 26, 2023. [Mustafa Hassona – Anadolu Agency]

The head of the government media office in Gaza, Salama Marouf, said on Saturday evening that Gaza stands alone today in defense of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic and Christian holy sites, Anadolu reports.

Addressing a press conference in front of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, Marouf stated: “Today, Gaza stands alone in the face of the occupation in defense of Al-Aqsa Mosque and all our Islamic and Christian holy sites, even after 22 days of this holocaust.”

He said the Gaza Strip is witnessing a pivotal moment in history as “our people march towards liberation and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Gaza has been under relentless Israeli airstrikes since the surprise offensive by Hamas on Oct. 7.

READ: UN General Assembly approves resolution calling for immediate ‘humanitarian truce’ in Gaza

The Palestinian group had initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood — a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

Israel responded with an uninterrupted campaign of air raids, which intensified Friday night along with ground activities amid a complete blackout of telecommunications and internet networks.

At least 7,703 Palestinians, including 3,595 children, have been killed in the Israeli attacks, while the death toll in Israel stands at more than 1,400.

Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are also grappling with shortages of food, water, and medicine due to Israel’s blockade of the enclave. Only a few aid trucks have crossed into Gaza since the opening of the Rafah crossing point last weekend.

The UN General Assembly late Friday approved a resolution calling for a humanitarian truce, but Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called it “despicable” and rejected it.

READ: Israel rejects UN resolution for Gaza cease-fire