Church a Haven for Muslims in Gaza

Palestinian boys play on the grounds of the St. Porphyrios Church in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. St. Porphyrios Church has thrown its doors open to hundreds of displaced Palestinians. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinians sit on the grounds of the St. Porphyrios Church in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. St. Porphyrios Church has thrown its doors open to hundreds of displaced Palestinians. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinians sit on the grounds of the St. Porphyrios Church in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. St. Porphyrios Church has thrown its doors open to hundreds of displaced Palestinians. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The Associated Press

Muslim families driven from their homes by the fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas are observing Ramadan in Gaza City’s Greek Orthodox church.

St. Porphyrios Church has thrown its doors open to hundreds of displaced Palestinians, some of the more than 140,000 who have fled their homes, according to the UN.

Entire families are sleeping on thin sheets on the hard church floors, fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. During the day the adults try to keep the dozens of children occupied, taking their minds off the conflict. In the evening, the families break their fast with simple plates of rice, provided by church aid agencies.

Many come from Gaza’s Shijaiyah area, the scene of heavy bombardment. The church itself has not escaped unscathed — missiles fired into a nearby cemetery sent debris flying into the churchyard.

Here’s a collection of images of the church and those seeking refuge there.

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