WVIP-News CAIRO: A church in southern Lebanon was attacked and gun shots were fired inside the ancient house of worship, residents of the Bqosta neighborhood in Sidon reported on Sunday.
According to The Daily Star Lebanon’s report, the entrance to the St. Joseph church in the predominantly Christian area of Sidon was targeted as well as chalices and the image of the Virgin Mary.
Security sources told the newspaper that they did not know when the attack took place, but that the “assailants used a hunting rifle to fire the shots.”
Local area Christians are concerned that the attack is a signal that there will be an upsurge in violence directed at the Christian minority in the southern part of the country.
“We are definitely concerned over the attack and hope it is not something that is coordinated and part of a larger plan to terrorize Christians in the south,” Nour Bishara told Bikyamasr.com.
Residents of the area discovered the attack and damage on Sunday morning when they were preparing for the day’s mass, which brings together both Maronites and Catholics from the surrounding areas.
Security forces have reported they have secured the area and are conducting an investigation into the incident as churchgoers went elsewhere for their Sunday Mass.
South Lebanon Governor Nicolas Abu Daher attempted to reassure local residents, asking them not to be intimidated by such an assault.
“I hope this is an isolated incident,” Abu Daher told The Daily Star in their report published on Sunday.
“There is nothing to fear and I assure you that the city has always and will always support coexistence.”
The St. Joseph Church is an ancient church that was rebuilt in 1997 after being nearly completely destroyed during the Civil War that wracked Lebanon between 1975-1990.