Former U.S. Representative Justin Amash said on Friday that several of his relatives had been killed when a Greek Orthodox church in the Gaza Strip was hit overnight by an Israeli air strike.
“Our family is hurting badly,” Amash wrote on X. “May God watch over all Christians in Gaza — and all Israelis and Palestinians who are suffering, whatever their religion or creed.”
Palestinian officials said at least 500 Muslims and Christians had taken shelter from Israeli bombardments in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Porphyrius, and the Hamas-run government’s health ministry said 16 were killed.
The Israeli military said part of the church was damaged in a strike on a nearby militant command center, and that it was reviewing the incident.
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem condemned the strike in a statement.
Amash, a Palestinian-American, represented Michigan as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2021. A vocal critic of former Republican President Donald Trump, Amash left the party in 2019 and later joined the Libertarian Party.
Israel has besieged Gaza since Hamas killed 1,400 people in southern Israel on Oct. 7. More than 4,100 Palestinians have been killed, according to Palestinian health officials, and more than 1 million Palestinians have been left homeless, according to the United Nations.