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Gaza Baptists Look Heavenward for End to Violence

Christians are caught in the crossfire between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza, as the political rivals exploded in gunfights on Thursday after a three-day truce.
( [email protected] ) Feb 02, 2007 12:07 PM EST

Christians are caught in the crossfire between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza, as the political rivals exploded in gunfights on Thursday after a three-day truce.

“It is very dangerous for everyone,” Khader Khoury, leader of the Gaza Baptist Church, told Open Doors in a report on Wednesday. “We are just saved by the Lord. We don’t have anything to protect ourselves. Nothing and no one can help us.”

Hanna Massad, pastor of Gaza Baptist Church, reported that people given an opportunity are fleeing Gaza. Most, however, stay because they are too poor and without relatives or friends in safer countries. Massad said that both Christians and Muslims are innocent victims of Gaza’s ongoing conflict.

Christians, though, are often richer and have better prospects abroad than their Muslim neighbors, leading many to flee the unstable area.

Khoury, however, has vowed to not leave.

“I won’t leave,” he said. “I love Gaza. I’m an intercessor for Gaza. We will stay. This is our field.”

There are 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, with less than 2,500 Christians, according to Open Doors.

“Gaza needs much prayer,” Khoury said. “[The militants] are moving to kill each other.”

A truce between the secular Fatah political party and the Islamist movement Hamas declared a truce early Tuesday with hope that it would end the internal fighting that has resulted in more than 60 Palestinians dead since early December, according to The Associated Press.

Khoury requests prayer for protection for Gaza’s believers.

“Pray that the Lord will get new workers in this field because the field is so big,” he said. “Pray that the Lord stop this spirit of war, that the Lord will take this atmosphere from Gaza.

Open Doors, a ministry that serves the persecuted Church, operates several projects to help the victims of Gaza including an outreach to help children traumatized by hatred and violence due to the conflicts and sponsorship of the Bethlehem Bible College’s Gaza extension to equip Gazan students for ministry.