Pope Francis to meet with families of Israeli hostages and Palestinians with relatives in Gaza

In his Angelus address on Nov. 12, he said: “I am close to all those who are suffering, Palestinians and Israelis. I embrace them in this dark moment. And I pray for them a lot.”

“In Gaza, let the wounded be rescued immediately, let civilians be protected, let far more humanitarian aid be allowed to reach that stricken population. May the hostages be freed, including the elderly and children,” Pope Francis said.

“Every human being, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, of any people or religion, every human being is sacred, is precious in the eyes of God, and has the right to live in peace.”

About 240 people are being held hostage by Hamas, according to the United Nations. Four hostages have been released so far and another was freed by Israeli forces in October. The Israeli military said on Nov. 16 that troops had recovered two bodies of hostages, Yehudit Weiss, 65, and Noa Marciano, 19.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has underlined that the Holy See views the release of the hostages and a ceasefire as fundamental steps in the resolution of the conflict. 

“The release of the hostages is one of the fundamental points for the solution of the current situation, taking into consideration the humanitarian aspects of those who are being held — men, women, children, newborns, pregnant women,” Parolin said on Nov. 17, according to Reuters.

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