Photo of neighbourhood affected by war, viewed from above.

File photo, Gaza. 

The World Council of Churches condemns all violations by Israeli forces of international humanitarian law and norms regarding the protection of civilians,” said Pillay. We call for an immediate cessation of this deadly violence and appeal to both Israel and Hamas to desist from attacks on civilians and to urgently de-escalate the conflict,” said Pillay. 

Pillay lamented the civilian casualties and suffering resulting from this latest attack, adding to the unconscionable toll borne by the civilian population of Gaza in the current conflict. Strikes that kill civilians—especially innocent children—can never provide a path to sustainable peace or to justice, but only perpetuate the cycle of violence,” he said. We urge all WCC member churches to continue to pray for just peace in the land of Christs birth, and in solidarity with all the people affected and threatened by violence.” 

The Gaza Health Ministry reported that at least 45 people were killed in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood, the majority of them women and children. First responders warned that the number of casualties could rise, as many people were trapped in flames that erupted after the bombardment. "It is time that these senseless killings of innocent people be stopped, and we appeal to the international community to assume a more prominent and responsible role in seeking an immediate ceasefire to spare the continued suffering and loss of lives of innocent people," Pillay said.

The strike drew condemnation from world leaders just days after the United Nations' top court ordered Israel to halt its offensive on the southern Gaza city, where more than a million people had sought refuge. 

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