Pope Francis urged an end to the Hamas-Israel conflict on Sunday, warning that it could worsen, and called for greater humanitarian aid to be let into Gaza.
“War is always a defeat, it is a destruction of human fraternity. Brothers, stop! Stop!” Francis said after his traditional Angelus prayer in Rome’s Saint Peter’s Square.
“I renew my call for spaces to be opened, for humanitarian aid to continue to arrive and for hostages to be freed,” the 86-year-old pontiff said.
Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing at least 1,400 people.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry, Israel’s retaliatory bombing campaign has killed over 4,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and turned swaths of densely populated Gaza to smoldering ashes.
There is growing concern about a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where Israel has shut off water, food, and electricity.
On Saturday, a trickle of aid reached the besieged Gaza Strip, but UN officials said the 20 trucks allowed to cross were insufficient given the “catastrophic” humanitarian condition for 2.4 million people.
Two US captives were released on Friday, but the jihadists still hold over 200 people hostage.