VATICAN CITY (The Thursday Times) — Amid escalating violence in the Gaza Strip, Pope Francis reiterated his appeal for peace between Israel and Hamas on Sunday, while also calling for the immediate release of hostages and the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza, which he termed as a “very grave” situation.
Speaking after the customary Angelus prayer at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, the pontiff expressed his continued concern over the dire circumstances in Palestine and Israel that have resulted in significant loss of life.
“I implore in God’s name, halt the warfare,” the Pope urged.
He voiced hope that every avenue is being pursued to prevent any further exacerbation of the conflict, to extend aid to the injured, and to ensure humanitarian relief reaches Gaza, particularly underlining the grave humanitarian crisis there, alongside calling for an immediate release of the hostages.
I continue to think about the serious situation in Palestine and in Israel where many, many people have lost their lives. In God’s name, I beg you to stop: cease using weapons! I hope that avenues will be pursued so that an escalation of the conflict might be absolutely avoided.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 5, 2023
Earlier this month, an operation by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip into Israel on October 7 led to the deaths of at least 1,400 individuals, marking it as the most lethal attack in Israel’s history, as per Israeli officials. The assault also resulted in 240 individuals being taken hostage.
In a retaliatory move, Israel has conducted unyielding airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip, with the death toll surpassing 9,770, a majority being women and children, as reported by the health department controlled by Hamas.
Pope Francis, who has on prior occasions appealed for a cessation of hostilities and for humanitarian assistance to be granted access into Gaza, also engaged in discussions with U.S. President Joe Biden last month. According to Vatican sources, their discourse encompassed global conflict scenarios and the imperative of delineating pathways towards peace.