A Sunday morning bomb badly damaged Gaza's only Christian bookstore, operated by the Palestinian Bible Society.
The bomb, which exploded at approximately 2:30 a.m. Sunday, caused no injuries but destroyed much of the downstairs storefront of The Teacher's Bookshop in downtown Gaza City.
Damage exceeded that of the two small pipe bombs that unknown terrorists detonated in front of the shop February 3, 2006, destroying its steel and glass doors. Following that attack, the Christian bookshop's workers found a communique demanding the shop close immediately and not reopen elsewhere; however, the Bible Society reopened it five weeks later.
Labib Madanat, executive director of the Palestinian Bible Society, told Christianity Today Sunday afternoon after visiting Gaza that the attack came without warning. Gazan authorities had no confirmation of who was responsible; however, a small group called "The Sword of Islam" has carried out similar bombings of internet cafes.
At midnight Sunday, masked gunmen in two cars parked in front of the bookshop and kidnapped its lone security guard, Madanat said. The gunmen drove the guard to a remote northern Gaza location and beat him, demanding the bookshop key. After a search confirmed the guard had no key, they left him, returned to the shop, and there detonated the bomb, which Madanat said could be heard some three miles away.
Madanat had no further information on the guard's condition but said that police were interrogating him.
Officials from the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Culture visited the bookshop with a letter to affirm the government's support for the Bible Society. "They called it an act of darkness, which it truly is," Madanat said. "They pleaded with us not to give up and to ...