The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) released details of its investigation into allegations that two women–a mother and daughter – were killed by IDF troops while they were inside a church in Gaza.
The IDF finished conducting an initial review of the incident. The review found that on December 17th, in the early afternoon, Hamas terrorists launched a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at IDF troops from the vicinity of the church – the Sister’s Convent at the Holy Family Parish.
The troops then identified three people in the vicinity, operating as spotters for Hamas by guiding their attacks in the direction of the IDF troops. In response, they fired towards the spotters and hits were identified. While this incident occurred in the area where the two women were reportedly killed, the reports received do not match the conclusion of the IDF’s initial review which found that its troops were targeting spotters in enemy lookouts. The IDF said it is continuing its examination of the incident and that it takes claims of strikes on sensitive sites “very seriously, especially churches that are the holy sites for the Christian faith.”
The IDF contrasted its efforts to avoid harming civilians with those of Hamas, which “does everything in its power to endanger civilians and exploits them, as well as religious sites, as human shields for their terrorist activities.” The Greek Orthodox Jerusalem Patriarchate made the claim that Nahida Khalil Anton and her daughter, Samar Kamal Anton, were killed by an IDF sniper while looking for shelter at the church. The report, however, was not independently verified.