MP Layla Moran fears for Christian family sheltering in Gaza church

Layla Moran(Photo: ITV)

MP Layla Moran has said she is "desperately worried" about her relatives in Gaza and fears they will not survive Christmas. 

She told ITV that her relatives are among the hundreds of Christians sheltering in the Holy Family Church, a Catholic parish in Gaza City that has been caught up in the fighting. 

Her grandmother, her grandmother's son, his wife and their 11-year-old twins have taken up refuge in the church, she said.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said that an elderly woman and her daughter were shot dead in the church's compound by an Israeli sniper on Friday. 

Moran, who is the UK's first MP of Palestinian descent, said her relatives in Gaza are "days away from dying" after the last generator pumping water to the church stopped working. 

Moran, who represents Oxford West and Abingdon, told ITV today that people sheltering in the parish compound risk "being shot at".

"It's a week to Christmas Eve, these are Christians in a church who went there to seek sanctuary," she said.

"This is making a mockery of the assertion by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) that they do not target civilians.

"They have known for two months that these are civilians. If they thought Hamas were there, they would have come earlier. There were no leaflets dropped, there was no prior warning – nothing. We are terrified for them, we don't know if they are going to last until Christmas."