23 January 2009
Gaza - Israel destroyed 41 Mosques during its 23-day assault on the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs in the de facto government reported on Friday.
The ministry reports that the 16 Mosques were destroyed in Gaza City, and 19 in the area north of Gaza City. Some of the Mosques were shelled while they were full of worshipers at prayer.
The ministry added that five cemeteries were shelled, in some cases corpses were exhumed by the explosions.
"The shelling and demolition of mosques is completely banned and not accepted in any religion," the ministry said in a statement, saying that Israel's actions revealed its "true, criminal face."
The ministry also denied Israel's claims that Palestinian fighters used mosques to store weapons.
"We wonder why Israel says resistance factions hide arms in mosques and the troops are shelling the schools and the mosques and the houses? This does not make sense because it is impossible to hide any arms in a public place like a mosque where worshippers go to pray."
The ministry also called for an international investigation into what it said were war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza.
They also called for "religious men" to stand with Palestinians and "oppose these crimes committed against holy places," appealing for support from Islamic institutions worldwide.