An unidentified group of vandals threw rocks and spray painted hate messages on the walls of the Church of Panagia Muhliotissa and the Fener Greek High School in İstanbul on Wednesday evening, the Gerçek Gündem news website reported.
As the intensity of Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza grows, minority communities in Turkey are increasingly becoming targets of racist attacks in the wake of the rising anti-Israeli sentiment in the country, according to Gerçek Gündem.
The attackers, who have not yet been identified, spray painted anti-Israeli hate messages on the walls of the Greek school and the church in the Fatih district, which said “Damn Israel” and “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”
Following last night’s attack, church officials filed a complaint with the police. According to eyewitness accounts, a group of three or four men vandalized the church and threw rocks at the building.
The Foundation of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church issued a statement expressing sorrow over the attack.
“This attack not only targeted a place of worship and a school but also affected the people living there. Our law enforcement officers were very helpful to us. We hope that such incidents will not happen again,” it said.
In the wake of the widespread anti-Israeli demonstrations in the country, security measures have been implemented in front of many synagogues, especially in İstanbul.
The Turkish Jewish Community had temporarily canceled its activities. Despite these precautions, a similar attack occurred last week at the Etz Hayim Synagogue in the western province of İzmir.
The Israel-Hamas conflict started after Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented surprise attack in Israel on Oct. 7. Hamas militants killed more than 1,400 people, both civilians and soldiers, according to Israeli authorities. It was the deadliest attack by militants in Israel’s 75-year history.
Following the attack, Israel began pounding Gaza, claiming more than 10,500 lives — including 4,300 children — so far, according to the health ministry in Gaza.