The killing of two women in a Gaza church is strongly condemned by a high-ranking official as a ruthless and inhumane act.

According to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the shooting of a mother and daughter by an Israeli military sniper in a Gaza City church compound was a “cold-blooded killing” that did not contribute to Israel’s right to defend itself.

Nahida Khalil Anton and her daughter, Samar, were killed inside the Holy Family parish in Gaza City on Saturday, where many of Gaza’s Christian families have sought refuge since the beginning of the conflict.

Nichols, who has visited the parish twice, emphasized that the church compound is not a place where rocket launchers are kept, as claimed by Israel. He described the incident as “certainly a cold-blooded killing” and questioned how it could support Israel’s right to defend itself.

Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani also criticized Israeli forces for shooting and killing people inside the church compound, stating that it has nothing to do with the fight against Hamas.

Pope Francis condemned the killing of the women and accused Israel of using “terrorism” tactics in Gaza, pointing out that unarmed civilians, including families, children, and nuns, were being targeted.

Mark Regev, senior adviser to the Israeli prime minister, stressed that Israel does not shoot people who are going to church to pray and suggested that the women may have been killed by Palestinian terrorists.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran revealed that her relatives, who were inside the Holy Family church complex, were under siege by Israeli forces and living in fear due to continuous shootings in the vicinity of the church.

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