Francis called on Sunday for humanitarian corridors to allow the delivery of essentials to the Gaza Strip, which is under heavy Israeli bombardment following a bloody attack by its rulers, Hamas.
Alarm has grown about a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where Israel has cut off water, food and power, vowing to maintain the complete siege until all hostages taken by the Palestinian Islamist militant group are freed.
In the eight days since Hamas gunmen killed more than 1,300 Israelis in their attack, Israel has responded with a devastating bombing campaign that has claimed over 2,300 lives in Gaza.
“Humanitarian law must be respected, especially in Gaza, where it is urgent and necessary to guarantee humanitarian corridors and help the population,” said the Pope after his traditional Angelus prayer in Rome’s Saint Peter’s Square.
“I strongly urge that children, the sick, the elderly, women and all civilians should not fall victim to the conflict”, he added.
“There have already been so many deaths, please let’s not shed any more innocent blood, not in the Holy Land, not in Ukraine, not anywhere else. Enough is enough. War is always a defeat,” he said, castigating “the diabolical force of hatred, terrorism and war”.
Israeli forces were on Sunday readying for a ground invasion of Gaza.
Pope Francis also renewed his call “for the release of the hostages” kidnapped by Hamas fighters in southern Israel.
He invited “all believers to unite in prayer with the Church in the Holy Land” on Tuesday