FACT CHECK: Did the IDF Destroy A Gaza Church?
A post shared on X claims the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) destroyed the Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church.
The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Porphyrios was destroyed in the Gaza Strip
Two people were killed and dozens were injured. pic.twitter.com/3EdUHJvfQY
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) October 20, 2023
The church campus was damaged, with at least one building collapsing. The actual church still remains intact. The IDF took responsibility for the damage.
Israel continues to hit Gaza with strikes, claiming to have hit over 100 Hamas targets the night of Oct. 19, according to the Times of Israel. Social media users are claiming that the St. Porphyrius Orthodox Church was destroyed. At least one user claimed that it was destroyed by the IDF.
This claim, however, is misleading. The IDF carried out an airstrike that damaged the church campus, which resulted in a building collapsing, according to The Wall Street Journal. At least two people were killed in the strike, the outlet reported.
An IDF spokesperson told Check Your Fact that the “IDF can unequivocally state that the Church was not the target of the strike.”
“Last night, IDF fighter jets targeted the command and control center in the Zaitoun area, belonging to a Hamas terrorist, involved in the launching of rockets and mortars toward Israel. The command and control center was used to carry out attacks against Israel, and contained infrastructure belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization. Any damage caused result of the IDF strike, is collateral damage and was not the intended result of the IDF’s action. The IDF can unequivocally state that the Church was not the target of the strike,” a IDF spokesperson told Check Your Fact in an email.
The IDF provided Check Your Fact with a video of the strike. The video was also published by other accounts and the targeted building was geolocated by OSINTTechnical, an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses.
IDF provided @Check_Your_Fact with a video of the strike and a statement saying “IDF can unequivocally state that the Church was not the target of the strike.”
— Elias Atienza (@AtienzaElias) October 20, 2023
Images published on social media show that the church still remains standing, though suffered “superficial damage.”
The marble and granite church itself, built in the 1150s, suffered superficial damage. pic.twitter.com/5A4Voc7C6X
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) October 20, 2023
Check Your Fact previously debunked a claim that the church had been destroyed on Oct. 9. (RELATED: Fact Checking Videos, Images And Posts From The October Hamas Attack On Israel)