Pope Renews Appeals for Ceasefire in Holy Land and Hostage Release

Pope Renews Appeals for Ceasefire in Holy Land and Hostage Release

Pope Francis has once again called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, expressing his concerns for the children affected by the war and those suffering in various other global conflicts, notably Ukraine.

During the Angelus prayer, Pope urged an end to the violence, appealing, "I implore you to stop, in the name of God," and he emphasized the importance of a ceasefire.

Pope also stressed the need for humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza, where the situation is dire, and called for the release of over 200 Israeli hostages, including children, taken during a deadly incursion by Hamas in October. He concluded his appeal by encouraging everyone to find the courage to put an end to the ongoing conflict.

In the Gaza region, Israel continues its offensive against Hamas militants, urging civilians in the northern part of Gaza to relocate southward. Tragically, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 15 people were killed when an ambulance was struck outside Gaza City's largest hospital. Israel claimed to have targeted an ambulance used by Hamas.

The conflict began after Hamas killed over 1,400 people in Israel and kidnapped more than 200 others. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank and engaged with leaders from Lebanon, Qatar, and Jordan in his efforts to secure humanitarian pauses in the fighting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that there will be no temporary ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza until all Israeli hostages are released. Blinken also extended his condolences over the deaths of United Nations aid workers in Gaza who lost their lives since the outbreak of the war with Israel.

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