By Donatus Anichukwueze
Pope Francis on Sunday renewed his call for an end to the Hamas-Israel conflict, urging the release of hostages and humanitarian aid for Gaza, describing the situation as “very serious”.
“I continue to think about the serious situation in Palestine and in Israel where many people have lost their lives,” he said after the traditional Angelus prayer at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome.
“I beg you in the name of God to stop, cease fire,” he said.
“I hope all the possibilities are being explored so that a widening of the conflict is absolutely avoided, that the wounded can be helped, and that aid can reach Gaza, where the humanitarian situation is very serious, and that the hostages be immediately released.”
Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing at least 1,400 people, and taking 240 people hostage, according to Israeli authorities, in the deadliest attack in the country’s history.
Israel has relentlessly bombarded the besieged Gaza Strip in response, killing more than 9,770 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
The pope has previously pleaded for an end to the conflict and for humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Gaza Strip.
He spoke to US President Joe Biden last month about “conflict situations in the world and Vatican.