Christians fear ISIS fighters in Gaza
International | Clashes persist between Palestinians and Israeli Defense Forces
by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/11/18, 04:58 pm
GAZA: Amid ongoing clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters, reports that Islamic State (ISIS) militants have entered Gaza through Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula have created fear among local Christians. About 1,000 remain in the Hamas-ruled enclave, down from an estimated 4,500 Christians living there six years ago.
“There’s a huge failure to engage Middle East Christians on their own merit, not in reference to the Jews or the United States, but just as Christians, who these people are, preserving our faith in hostile conditions for 2,000 years,” Philos Project executive director Robert Nicholson said, speaking at a recent Washington, D.C., event sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
Slain Gaza journalist Yasar Murtaja had been on the Hamas payroll since 2011 with the rank of captain, according to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and U.S. officials confirmed he had received an $11,700 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Murtaja’s death last week was covered extensively by media outlets—but his work may have been part of a pattern of Hamas members’ posing as journalists and humanitarian aid workers.
Murtaja had been contracted to cover ongoing protests of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, where Israel fired live rounds on the protesters to protect communities near the border fence, it said, killing 29 people this month and wounding 1,000, according to Palestinian officials.
SYRIA: American journalist Marie Colvin was assassinated by Syrian forces, according to new evidence submitted in U.S. federal court. According to a high-level defector, the regime tracked Colvin, 56, and other journalists via their satellite phones—a practice long suspected—and reported to Maher al-Assad, the military commander brother of President Bashar al-Assad, as part of a campaign to create an information blackout.
Colvin—who told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “The Syrian army is shelling a city of cold, starving civilians,” on the night her building was hit with rockets—was reporting for Britain’sThe Sunday Times. At least 119 journalists have been killed covering the Syrian war.
NIGERIA: Four years after their abduction, the Chibok school girls “were not just statistics. These are real human beings,” The New York Times reports. Those released remain under close supervision of government officials and educators, rarely seeing their families, while 112 girls are still missing of the 276 abducted in 2014.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Gunmen have killed another Catholic priest in the eastern province of North Kivu. He is the third killed in the area.
ALGERIA: Authorities released Slimane Bouhafs, a Christian convert who spent the last 18 months in prison for “insulting Islam and its prophet Muhammad.” His case received sustained support from leading human rights groups.
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