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Candace Owens, Charlie Kirk condemn Israeli airstrike that killed Christians sheltering in Gaza church

Candace Owens
Candace Owens | CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Conservative political commentator Candace Owens urged Christians to speak up against the recent bombing of the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrios in Gaza, which killed 18 people taking shelter inside when it was hit by an Israeli airstrike last week.

"I have been disgusted by the propagandists pretending a Christian church was not bombed," Owens wrote Monday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. "Christians were killed. No Christian should stay silent."

Later posting in response to a user who suggested her comment about the Gaza church was anti-Semitic, Owens wrote, "Respectfully, if you think it’s antisemitism to notice that innocent Christians were killed in an IDF bombing then you need to log off of the internet and have your brain examined. Respectfully."

Owens' tweet was in response to a lengthy statement posted to X by Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk, who said he was "disappointed by Israel's response" and called for answers regarding the church bombing.

"What intelligence was Israel responding to; what target were they going after that justified putting a historic church in danger?" Kirk wrote in part.

"Israel says the church blast is 'under investigation.' But contrition and a full accounting should be the top of Israel's priority list. Israel quickly apologized recently when it mistakenly targeted an Egyptian position. Christians around the world are Israel's number 1 ally, and if a Christian church was targeted, we need to know exactly why and how."

The Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrios was reportedly sheltering approximately 500 Palestinian Christians and Muslims when it was damaged during an overnight Israeli airstrike last Friday, according to a statement from the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which accused Israel of a "war crime."

The Hamas-run health ministry claimed that at least 16 Palestinian Christians were among the 18 people killed in the blast, according to The Washington Post. At least 20 others were injured. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) noted that a portion of the church complex had been hit during an airstrike targeting Hamas military compounds but maintained that the church was not the intended target.

"As a result of the IDF strike, a wall of a church in the area was damaged. We are aware of reports on casualties. The incident is under review," the IDF told Agence France-Presse, adding that they "can unequivocally state that the Church was not the target of the strike."

Justin Amash, a Palestinian-American who formerly represented Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced on social media that several of his relatives had been seeking refuge in the church when they were killed in the blast.

Israel has carried out retaliatory airstrikes since Hamas tortured and murdered more than 1,400 civilians, including at least 32 Americans, in southern Israel on Oct. 7. The terrorist group wounded thousands of civilians and took some 222 people hostage. 

More than 4,100 Palestinians have been killed since airstrikes began, and more than 13,000 injured, according to Hamas.

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