Release All Israeli Hostages – Pope Francis To Hamas

Pope Francis has implored Hamas to release all hostages taken during their recent operation, expressing profound unease regarding the extensive blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza.

The militant group, which has held sway in the Gaza Strip since 2007, has issued grave threats to execute hostages, among them young individuals who were abducted in Israel, including those apprehended during the Nova music festival on a fateful Saturday, which saw around 270 lives lost.

During his weekly audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis, the 86-year-old head of the global Catholic Church, made this impassioned plea. His words represent some of his most robust remarks since the inception of the Gaza conflict. In a somber tone, he conveyed his deep apprehension about the Israeli siege on Gaza.

“I continue to monitor, with pain and concern, the unfolding events in Israel and Palestine. Numerous lives have been lost, and countless others have been injured. I offer my prayers for the families whose day of celebration turned into one of mourning, and I fervently beseech the immediate release of the hostages,” he affirmed.

When touching upon Israel’s response to Hamas, Pope Francis emphasized that self-defense is a legitimate right for those facing aggression. Yet, he voiced profound worry over the comprehensive siege that ensnares the Palestinian population in Gaza, where numerous innocent lives have been affected.

Pope Francis stressed that terrorism and extremism are not the paths to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, they breed hatred, violence, revenge, and inflict suffering upon both sides.

He added, “The Middle East does not require war but peace—a peace founded on justice, dialogue, and the bravery of brotherhood.”

The death toll has tragically risen following five days of intense clashes between Hamas and Israel, with Israel continuing its bombardment of Gaza. In Israel, the death toll from the shocking cross-border assault by Hamas militants on Saturday has reached 1,200, marking it as the deadliest attack in Israel’s 75-year history.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that Israel’s military response to Saturday’s assault is just the beginning of an enduring campaign aimed at dismantling the Islamist group and “transforming the Middle East.”

It was disclosed that Pope Francis reached out to the priest who leads Gaza’s modest Catholic community on two occasions, extending his prayers and demonstrating solidarity in the wake of the violence provoked by a Hamas attack on Israel, as reported by the Vatican. Father Gabriel Romanelli conveyed that the Pope “personally expressed his closeness and offered his prayers” during their conversation, according to Vatican News, the Vatican’s media outlet.

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