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World News

'War is a defeat' - Pope Francis prays for Israel and Gaza

by Donna Birrell

Pope Francis has called for an end to the conflict in Israel and Gaza, praying for hostages to be freed and for humanitarian aid to continue to arrive in Gaza.

Speaking at his Sunday address from the window of the Papal apartments overlooking St Peter's Square in Rome, Pope Francis said :

''Once again my thoughts go to what is happening in Israel and Palestine. I am very concerned and saddened. I pray for and am close to all those who are suffering, the hostages, the injured, the victims and their families. I think of the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza, and I am saddened that the Anglican hospital and the Greek-Orthodox parish have also been hit in recent days. I renew my appeal for spaces to be opened, for humanitarian aid to continue to arrive, and for hostages to be freed. War, every war in the world, I am also thinking of the martyred Ukraine, is a defeat. War is always a defeat. It is the destruction of human fraternity. Brothers, stop, stop.''

Israel has besieged Gaza since Hamas killed 1,400 people in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

More than 4,100 Palestinians have been killed, according to Palestinian health officials, and more than a million Palestinians have been left homeless, according to the United Nations.

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