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IDF sniper kills two women inside Gaza church, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem says

A 2018 file photo showing the exterior of the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Family in Gaza City.Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/File

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sniper shot and killed two women inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza on Saturday, according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which oversees Catholic Churches across Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

The majority of Christian families inside Gaza have taken refuge inside the parish since the start of the war, the patriarchate said in a statement.

The two women, described as a mother and daughter, were walking to the Sister’s Convent, the patriarchate said. “One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety,” it added.

Seven others were also shot and wounded in the attack.

“No warning was given, no notification was provided,” the statement continued.

“They were shot in cold blood inside the premises of the parish, where there are no belligerents.”

The patriarchate said that IDF tanks had also targeted the Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa, which houses 54 disabled people and is part of the church’s compound. The building’s generator, its only current source of electricity, as well as its fuel resources, solar panels and water tanks were also destroyed.

IDF rockets had made the convent “uninhabitable,” the statement said.

On Friday, UK lawmaker Layla Moran, a member of parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon, said that members of her family sheltering in the church were “beyond desperate and terrified” as conditions continued to worsen.

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Moran on November 15 told the UK House of Commons that a family member who had been sheltering in the church had died. Citing accounts from her family, Moran added that electricity generators at the church had stopped.

“[My family] are reporting white phosphorous and gunfire into their compound,” she said. “The bin collector and the janitor have been shot and their bodies are laying outside and remain uncollected.”

CNN cannot independently verify the conditions in and around the church, nor the allegation of the use of incendiary munitions (which can be illegal in some circumstances).

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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