Gaza Christians pray for peace

GAZA CITY, Gaza (AP) — Palestinian Christians at Gaza's St. Porphyrios Orthodox Church are praying for peace.

Only a few dozen attended Sunday Mass at the church where hundreds worshipped before the war started.

The cemetery outside the church was damaged in an Israeli strike last month.

Israel accuses Gaza militants of firing rockets from populated areas near or within mosques, churches, hospitals or schools. But Greek Orthodox Bishop Alexios has denied that rockets were fired from his church. He says Christians are praying for security in their holy places, whether in Israel or the Palestinian territories.

There are approximately 2,500 Christians among an overall Palestinian population of more than 1.7 million in Gaza. Their numbers rapidly have shrunk in recent years because of turmoil and Islamic extremism.

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