Gaza’s Oldest Mosque Suffers Extensive Damage: Accusations of Israeli Bombing

Gaza’s oldest mosque, the Great Omari Mosque, has been severely damaged, as captured in recent footage that has emerged. The site, believed to have been bombed by the Israeli military, has left only the minaret standing amidst the debris. Hamas officials have condemned the incident, labeling it a “heinous, barbaric crime”. The Israeli military has refrained from making any comments regarding the incident. The Great Omari Mosque, which dates back to the 7th Century and was built on the grounds of a Byzantine church, has faced destruction throughout numerous conflicts and an earthquake, but has always been rebuilt. Located in Gaza City’s old town, the mosque is named after Omar, the second caliph of Islam.

The Hamas-run antiquities ministry in Gaza has accused Israel of targeting the historical and archaeological sites in the region, urging Unesco, the UN’s cultural agency, to intervene and protect these sites. Israel, on the other hand, has accused Hamas of utilizing mosques, schools, and other civilian infrastructure to conceal its fighters.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated their military operation in Gaza following a deadly attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7th. According to Israel, the Hamas attack resulted in the death of 1,200 individuals, with 240 being held as hostages. However, some hostages were freed during a brief ceasefire. In retaliation, Hamas claims that more than 17,177 people, including approximately 7,000 children, have been killed by Israel throughout their campaign.