The Mosque by the Sea – Why Did Israel Bomb Al-Hassaina Islamic Landmark

The Al-Hassaina Mosque was destroyed by an Israeli bombing last November. (Image: Palestine Chronicle, via social media)

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with Salah Haroun, who cannot stop thinking of the spiritual void left by the destruction of Al-Hassaina Mosque, especially during Ramadan.

Since the beginning of its genocidal war on Gaza, Israel had indiscriminately targeted civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings, hospitals, churches and mosques. 

Even during the holy month of Ramadan, Palestinians who sought to find relief in the sacred walls of a place of worship became targets of Israel’s criminal actions. In fact many of Gaza’s historical and landmark buildings were annihilated by Israel’s bombs. 

Among them, the Al-Hassaina Mosque, which was located at the entrance of the Gaza City port.

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The mosque, overlooking Gaza’s Mediterranean Coast, was known as one of the most beautiful and famous mosques in the Strip. It was destroyed by an Israeli bombing last November. 

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with Salah Haroun, who cannot stop thinking of the spiritual void left by the destruction of Al-Hassaina Mosque, especially during Ramadan.

“Every year, my friends and I used to perform the night prayers and the spiritual retreat known as ‘Itikaf’ at the Al-Hassaina Mosque,” Haroun told the Palestine Chronicle. 

“I am from Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, but since its opening, six years ago, I have been committed to performing Itikaf in Al-Hassaina Mosque. I used to go there with six of my friends after the evening prayer only to leave after the dawn prayer,” he explained.

During the last ten nights of Ramadan, which are highly significant in Islam as they include Laylat-ul-Qadr, the most blessed night of the year, there were special rituals at Al-Hassaina Mosque.

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“The mosque’s Imam, Ahmed Safadi, has a very beautiful and melodious voice. The tranquility prevailing in the mosque made us committed for six years to perform the night prayers during the last ten nights of Ramadan,” Haroun said.

“We used to sit in the western courtyard of the mosque, which directly overlooked the Gaza port and the sea. The sound of the waves brought great comfort to our souls, and the spiritual atmosphere in the mosque was unmatched elsewhere,” he explained.

Haroun told us that on the 27th night of Ramadan, believed by many to be the Night of Power – Laylat-ul-Qadr – the mosque was filled with adults, children, elders, and youth.”

“The mosque management provided us with simple hospitality and a light pre-dawn meal, but the atmosphere was indescribable. These experiences are still imprinted in our hearts and souls,” he said.

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Nobody expected Israel  to destroy the Al-Hassaina mosque, which represented an important Islamic landmark.

“I was shocked when I saw pictures of the mosque leveled to the ground by the Israeli occupation forces. There is no beauty left now,” Haroun said, with sadness.

The sorrow for the loss of such an important place mixes with the grief for friends and family members who were massacred by Israel in its genocidal war. 

“The occupation killed my friend Nabil Abu Sultan and injured many of my friends,” Haroun told us. 

“My house was also damaged. This war deprived us of many loved ones and places we cherished.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a correspondent for The Palestine Chronicle in the Gaza Strip. His email is

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