Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Gaza Baptist killed in war

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Salem Boulos, who attended the Gaza Baptist Church (GBC), was among the casualties who died in the recent war between Israel and Hamas.

The 45 year old father of four daughters and one son was killed when bombs dropped by an Israeli jet hit a building near where he stood on November 19.

Farid of the GBC wrote on November 22 that “we had a very difficult night yesterday all over Gaza city as well as all the areas.” He reported that many houses in Gaza were badly affected by the bombings.

Hanna Massad, former pastor of GBC who has been living in exile because of continuing tensions in Gaza, told the Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) that “almost 40 percent of the people who have been killed in Gaza are children.”

Gaza Baptist killed in warFuneral service of Salem Boulos, a Baptist in Gaza who was killed during the recent war between Israel and Hamas
The GBC building suffered only minor damage caused by the bombing of the main police station in Gaza, which is only about 10-15 meters from the church building. “People are very fearful,” Massad wrote on November 20, indicating that Gaza residents were hopeful that rumors of a ceasefire would be true. A ceasefire was announced on November 21, ending the war that began a week earlier on November 14.

Baptists in Israel were largely unaffected by the war. Bader Mansour, executive secretary of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel told the BWA that “Baptists in Israel were far from this round of violence, as they are concentrated in the North of Israel and the violence was mostly in the South of Israel and the Gaza Strip.”

He stated that Israeli Baptists, who are mostly of Palestinian origin, were praying for their counterparts in Gaza and for their homeland. “We continue to pray for justice and freedom for the Palestinians and peace and security for Israel,” Mansour said.

More than 150 Palestinians and five Israelis died in the one-week war.

The Christian community in Gaza is estimated to be about 2,000 persons comprising members of three churches in the Gaza Strip – a Greek Orthodox Church, a Catholic Church and the GBC.

Baptist World Alliance®
© November 26, 2012

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 253 conventions and unions in 130 countries and territories comprising 51 million baptized believers in 176,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.