‘Terrorism’: Israel-Hamas conflict has gone ‘beyond war’ says Pope Francis

‘Terrorism’: Israel-Hamas conflict has gone ‘beyond war’ says Pope Francis

Pope Francis said: "This is not war. This is terrorism," after meeting Israeli and Palestine families. [Guglielmo Mangiapane]

The violence unleashed by the state of Israel and Hamas fighters has gone beyond war to become “terrorism”, Pope Francis has stated.

Speaking in unscripted remarks at his Wednesday general audience in St Peter’s Square, the head of the Catholic Church said he had heard directly how “both sides are suffering” during meetings with the Israeli relatives of Hamas-held captives and with Palestinians who have family in Gaza.

“This is what wars do. But here, we have gone beyond wars. This is not war. This is terrorism,” he said.

He asked for prayers so that both sides would “not go ahead with passions, which, in the end, kill everyone”.

The pope’s meetings and his comments came hours after Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day truce mediated by Qatar.

The two sides agreed to the release of 50 women and children held captive in Gaza in exchange for 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli custody.

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The agreement also includes desperately needed humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza following weeks of relentless Israeli attacks that have killed more than 14,100 people, including 5,600 children, and forced about 1.7 million from their homes.

About 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attack on Israel.

Source: News Agencies