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As of Oct. 9, rumors of the St. Porphyrius Church in Gaza building’s destruction were "lies and fake news," the church said.
Update, Oct. 20, 2023: The Gaza-based Palestinian Ministry of Health on Oct. 20, 2023, reported that an airstrike had destroyed the Church of St. Porphyrius, a Greek Orthodox church in the Gaza Strip and Gaza’s oldest active church, and that more than a dozen people were killed. The Israeli National Defense acknowledged part of the church had been destroyed and said it was reviewing information, according to The Washington Post. At the time this fact-check was published, the church was intact. We have updated the fact-check to clarify that this rating was issued before the Oct. 20 airstrike.
Rumors about the Israel-Hamas war have run rampant on social media, and among them is a claim that Israel reduced a church in Gaza to rubble.
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The church responded to the unfounded claims on Facebook.
"We inform you that the church of St. Porphyrios in Gaza is in the best condition," read an English Facebook translation of the church’s Oct. 9 post. "And the news you spread is nothing more than rumors."
It went on to call the claims "lies and fake news."
On Oct. 20 — 11 days after this post was made — the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that an airstrike had destroyed the church and more than a dozen people had been killed.
We rate claims the church was destroyed Oct. 9, 2023, False.
Instagram post, Oct. 9, 2023
Wikimedia Commons, File:Saint Porphyrius Church, Gaza City.jpg, Nov. 29, 2022
St. Porphyrios Orthodox Church Facebook post, Oct. 9, 2023
The Washington Post, Historic church sheltering civilians struck in deadly Gaza City blast, Oct. 20, 2023
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