Muslim extremists are suspected in an early Friday attack on a YMCA library in the Gaza Strip, Cybercast News Service reports.
Isa Saba, director of the Gaza YMCA, said an estimated 10,000 books, some of them very old, were destroyed after an explosive device was placed in the Young Men’s Christian Association’s library before dawn on Friday.
More than 10 armed men reportedly broke into the library after midnight, overpowering and abducting the guards. The gunmen then returned to blow up the library.
Saba told Cybercast News Service that he did not know who was behind the attack, but he said he did not believe that the attack was targeted against the Christianity of the YMCA. He said the organization had never been threatened or attacked before Friday.
The YMCA has served Gaza’s Palestinians and Arabs for 55 years. It has an art school, a library, summer camps, and youth exchanges benefiting both Christian and Muslim communities.
There have been several recent attacks on Christian and Western facilities in Gaza, including a church and internet cafes. A month ago, the American International School in the Gaza Strip was attacked. Two Al Qaeda-style groups claimed responsibility.
In October, a Palestinian Christian Bible Society worker was kidnapped and murdered, reportedly for refusing to convert to Islam.
An estimated 3,500 Christians live among the 1.4 million Muslims in the Gaza Strip.