Rafah, Gaza, Dec 8 (EFE).- The Al Omari Mosque in Gaza, the largest and oldest in the Strip, has been destroyed by Israeli shelling, the Gaza City Council said Friday.
In a message on its official Facebook account, the council “condemns the Israeli occupation’s attack on the Great Omari Mosque” in the old city, adding that the mosque’s bombing is “part of Israel’s policy of destruction.”
The temple was initially built as a Byzantine church in the 5th century and later converted into a mosque in the 7th century by Arab generals under Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab, in the first period of Muslim rule in the Strip.
Following its destruction, the Gaza City Council called on Unesco “to intervene and condemn the actions of the occupation against symbols, monuments and heritage of Gaza.”
The Council accused Israel of deliberately destroying “religious and national monuments that embody the symbol and identity of the Palestinian people.”
On Thursday, Israeli attacks also destroyed the ancient mosque of Otman Bin Qashqar, another of the oldest temples in the Strip, also located in Gaza’s Old City, in an attack that also caused injuries and fatalities.
According to the authorities in Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, a large number of buildings in the Strip’s Old City have been destroyed in the conflict, including some 20 historic buildings.
Likewise, nine publishing houses and libraries in the Strip and 21 cultural centers “were totally or partially destroyed”.
Damage to centers that preserve Gaza’s historical memory is also evident in other attacks such as the one that destroyed the central archive of Gaza City Hall, Birzeit University, a Palestinian academic center in the West Bank, said Thursday.
Over 17,000 people in Gaza have been killed since Israel launched its retaliation against Hamas following an attack on Oct. 7, which killed around 1,200 people in Israel. EFE