"Christians caught in the crossfire" is becoming a sad cliche as violence increases throughout the Middle East
By Ron Brackin
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
DALLAS, TX (ANS) -- Mrs. Jalila Ayyad was killed this weekend during an Israeli bombing raid on Gaza, the first person from the tiny Christian community to die in the most recent violence. Her son was seriously injured.
Mrs. Ayyad was a member of Gaza Baptist Church, the only evangelical church among 1.6 million Sunni Muslims.
"The situation is much worse than during any other conflict before," Dr. Hanna Massad told ASSIST News. Massad is former pastor of Gaza Baptist Church and president of Christian Mission to Gaza (CMG), a nongovernment organization that brings humanitarian relief to both Christians and Muslims.
Dr. Massad said he is maintaining telephone contact with church members who he said "are breaking down in agony due to the trauma they are suffering from the constant bombardment. Many lives will never be the same again.
"People are running out of food. The Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches have opened their doors to refugees whose homes have been destroyed or who have been told by the Israeli Defense Forces to leave because their area is about to be bombed. It is a truly desperate situation."
Dr. Massad's former home is now occupied by his next-door neighbor who was warned that his house was about to be bombed.
"Fear is everywhere," he says, "Nowhere is safe."
CMG is trying to raise funds for a relief plan, working alongside the Palestinian Bible Society.
"I have asked the church in Gaza to begin making preparations so that, when it's safe to do so, we can get the food parcels to those most in need."
For more information, go to Christian Mission to Gaza.