Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has expressed his horror at an attack by Israeli forces on the Holy Family Parish compound in Gaza City.
Two Christian women were shot and killed in the attack which happened on Saturday.
In a statement, Cardinal Nichols said:
“I am heartbroken at the information provided by Cardinal Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, of killings in the Church compound of the Catholic Parish of the Holy Family in Gaza City. I have immediately sent a message to His Eminence, expressing my horror at these events and assuring him of the prayers of Catholics in England and Wales.
“I have twice been warmly welcomed to this parish by its people. They are a remarkable community of faith and genuine service to their neighbours. Together with the dedicated Religious Sisters, they have continued to provide shelter and sustenance to many people during these weeks of warfare. They are a people who yearn for peace.
“The information provided by the Cardinal, gives a picture of seemingly deliberate and callous killing by IDF(Israel Defence Force) soldiers of innocent civilians: an elderly woman and her daughter in the grounds of a church. This killing has to stop. It can never be justified.
“I ask all people of faith and goodwill to continue to pray for an end to this conflict by all sides.”
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that military pressure is necessary to underpin hostage negotiations.
Hamas, which is holding nearly 129 hostages in Gaza, has said there can be no negotiations about hostages until, as they put it, 'Israeli aggression' against their people stops.