Hamas slams looting of Gaza church
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip on Monday condemned the ransacking and looting of a church and Christian school in Gaza City and promised to punish the culprits.BB: Promised to punish the culprits? How exactly is hamas going to find the culprits? They haven't found the 'uncontrollable elements' that fire katushas at Israel in the last 6 months but all of a sudden they're going to find the culprits?
Masked gunmen who raided the Latin Church and Rosary Sisters School destroyed crosses, the Holy Book, pictures of Jesus and furniture and equipment. They also stole a number of computers.BB: Unbelievable, what more can you say? Hamas has been in control for 72 hours and the churches start to be looted already. Must the world wonder for how long it will take before the churches start to burn?
The attack was the first of its kind against the tiny Christian community since Hamas took control over the Gaza Strip last week.
Hamas denied responsibility, saying the attackers were members of a local criminal gang who exploited the chaos on the streets to carry out the attack.BB: Amazing, Hamas cant find out who kidnapped Gilad Shalit, and the BBC reporter but within 24 hours they manage to find out the culprits who ransacked the church and 'suggest' they return the stolen property. (But it wasn't Hamas members...)
Father Manual Musalam, leader of the Latin community, said he received assurances from Hamas that it would provide protection for all Christians in the Gaza Strip. He added that some of the stolen property was returned to the church and school on Monday.
Father Musalam said former Hamas minister Bassem Naim phoned him to condemn the attack on behalf of the Hamas leadership.BB: Err... Father Musalam you may not be panicking, but there seems to be a lot of contrary information that seems suggest a lot of Christians are panicking.
"We don't distinguish between Fatah and Hamas," the Christian leader said. "They are all our brothers and fathers and we are one people."
He said his community had "strong" relations with Hamas, pointing out that Hamas had sided with the Christians when their institutions were attacked in the past. He described the attackers as a bunch of criminals and thieves who were trying to drive a wedge between Muslims and Christians in the Gaza Strip.
Father Musalam dismissed reports that Christians living in Gaza City were afraid because of Hamas's takeover.
"The Christians here are not panicking," he added. "If anyone thinks that we are going to ask for help from the US and Israel, they are dead wrong."
Despite the reassurances, some Christians appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. They said they were planning to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as the borders with Israel and Egypt were reopened.BB: Gaza will begin the great exodus of Christians just like in Bethlehem. Can you blame Palestinian Christians wanting to leave? Look what has happened to Gaza in the time that they have had self rule? Instead of trying to build up the Gaza economy all Hamas has done is focus on building rockets, firing them into Israel and smuggling arms.
Fatah officials claimed that Hamas militiamen were behind the attack on the church and school.BB: Which begs the question why would you order your men to withdraw if they hadn't been the ones involved? Surely if there was 'a local criminal gang', you would keep your men there to make sure that 'a local criminal gang' does not do any further looting? err....
On Sunday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas phoned Father Musalam to express his strong condemnation for the attack.
"President Abbas promised that he would do his utmost to prevent such attacks on Christians here," he said.
Islam Shahwan, spokesman for Hamas's Executive Force in the Gaza Strip, denied responsibility.
He nevertheless admitted that a large group of Hamas militiamen had been near the area during the attack.
"We have instructed all our men to withdraw from the area," he said. "We will punish anyone who targets churches and public institutions."
JPost: Hamas slams looting of Gaza church