Monday 15 April 2024

Church of Ireland archbishops pray for Middle East peace amid Iran attacks on Israel

A statement from Archbishop John McDowell and Archbishop Michael Jackson said: “We renew our call for members of the Church of Ireland to pray that peace will prevail and humanitarian aid will reach all who suffer at this time.

“Every human life has intrinsic value through its creation in the image of God. Our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem continue, with great courage, to welcome and help people in need – regardless of their faith or background – in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, through its hospitals, schools, clinics and rehabilitation centres.

“We also remember in prayer all from our island who serve the cause of peace in the region and those whom they keep safe”.

Some of the worst violence ever seen in the region erupted on October 7th last year when the terror group Hamas attacked Southern Israel. The group attacked a musical festival and rural communities in the country, killing 1,139 and abducting dozens. It is believed around 100 are still in captivity and many have lost their lives.

The UK government described it as the most appalling attack in Israel’s history, the worst loss of Jewish life since the Second World War.

The Hamas-run health ministry says 33,686 people have been killed since the Israeli invasion of Gaza began – and at least 460 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since the Hamas terror attack in October. 

Israeli sources have told the BBC that least 13 Israelis have been killed in the West Bank by Palestinians in the same period.

Israel has hailed its successful air defences in the face of the unprecedented attack by Iran, saying it and its allies thwarted 99% of the more than 300 drones and missiles launched towards its territory.

US President Joe Biden said he would convene a meeting of the Group of Seven advanced democracies on Sunday “to co-ordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack”.

Iran launched the attack in response to a strike widely blamed on Israel on an Iranian consular building in Syria earlier this month which killed two Iranian generals.

Israel said Iran launched 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles and more than 120 ballistic missiles early on Sunday.

By Sunday morning, Iran said the attack was over and Israel reopened its air space.

The two enemies have for years been engaged in a shadow war marked by incidents such as the Damascus strike.

But Sunday’s assault, which set off air raid sirens across Israel, marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.