- Title: Gaza's Christian community holds Christmas morning mass
- Date: 25th December 2019
- Summary: MAN TAKING FAMILY PICTURE BEFORE A CHRISTMAS TREE FAMILY PICTURE ON SMART PHONE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CHRISTIAN PALESTINIAN LIVING IN GAZA, HILMI TARAZI, SAYING: "The holiday atmosphere is honestly nice, starting last night and also today we celebrated a full celebration and thank God, it was very nice and festive and everyone was happy, and we felt the holiday spirit in spite of the situation that we live in in the Gaza Strip."
- Embargoed: 8th January 2020 12:50
- Keywords: Christians Chritmas Gaza choir morning mass
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA004BBH2O93
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Gaza's dwindling Christian community held a mass in Gaza city on Wednesday (December 25) to mark Christmas day.
Fewer than half of Christians from Gaza who sought Israeli permits to visit holy cities such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem at Christmas have so far had their applications granted, members of the small community and Palestinian officials said on Tuesday (December 24).
Israel had said on Sunday (December 22) it would admit Christians from the Gaza Strip, a territory it keeps under blockade, reversing a December 12 announcement that barred them on security grounds - a departure from its usual Christmas policy.
Gaza has around 1,000 Christians, most of them from the Greek Orthodox denomination who celebrate Christmas on January 7, amid a mainly Muslim population of 2 million Palestinians.
Israel tightly restricts movements out of the Gaza Strip, a coastal territory controlled by Hamas Islamists who are deemed a terrorist group by Israel and Western powers.
Last year, ahead of Christmas Day on December 25, Israel granted permits for close to 700 Gaza Christians to travel to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and other holy cities that draw thousands of pilgrims each holiday season.
(Production: Arafat Barbakh, Wafa Mezied, Nuha Sharaf)
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