Pope Francis made a heartfelt plea for an end to the conflict between Hamas and Israel on Sunday, expressing his fear that the war could escalate and urging for more humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Gaza Strip.
“War, every war, is always a defeat, a destruction of human fraternity. Brothers, stop! Stop!” stated the 86-year-old Argentine pontiff before the gathered faithful in St. Peter’s Square during the Angelus prayer.
The Pope reiterated his call for the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and for the release of hostages captured since October 7, when Palestinian Islamist group Hamas commandos infiltrated Israeli territory, leaving more than 1,400 dead, mostly civilians.
Additionally, the Pope spoke on the phone for about 20 minutes with US President Joe Biden on Sunday about “conflict situations in the world and the need to identify paths to peace,” according to the Vatican.
The relentless retaliatory airstrikes by Israel on Gaza, a territory governed by Hamas, have resulted in at least 4,651 fatalities, mostly civilians, according to the health authorities of the Islamist movement, reducing entire neighborhoods of this densely populated enclave to rubble.
Two American hostages, a mother and her daughter, were released on Friday, but around 200 individuals captured by Hamas in their offensive remain in captivity. The Pope’s appeal for peace echoes the sentiments of countless people worldwide, urging an end to the devastating conflict and the initiation of efforts towards lasting peace in the region.