Pope 'very worried' by Gaza violence

Strong words Pope Francis holds his homily as a gust of wind catches his mantle during his weekly audience in St. Peter's square in Vatican City Vatican where he made an appeal for peace in the Holy Land

"I am very anxious about and pained by the intensification of tension in the Holy Land and the Middle East and the spiral of violence that increasingly moves peace, dialogue and negotiations further away", he said.

After expressing his sorrow for those killed and his closeness to those who are suffering, the pope insisted that violence will never bring peace.

Pope Francis on Wednesday, may 16, made a statement regarding the death of the inhabitants of Gaza during border riots on may 14-15, reports Reuters. "War begets war and violence begets violence".

Are we there yet? Pope Francis checks his watch as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
Are we there yet? Pope Francis checks his watch as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican

"May God have mercy on us", Francis said.

At least 2,400 other Palestinians were wounded in what was the bloodiest day of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 Gaza war.

The deadly protests coincide with the relocation of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the anniversary of the "Nakba", or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes at the time of Israel's creation.

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For weeks, Palestinian demonstrators have been protesting at the fence separating Israel and the Gaza.

Israeli soldiers and snipers used barrages of tear gas and gunfire to keep protesters from entering the country.

Speaking earlier in the audience to a group of Polish World War Two veterans, he said: 'We never learn'.

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'I repeat that the use of violence never leads to peace. During the battle, the abbey of Monte Cassino, founded by St. Benedict of Nursia in 524 was destroyed.

Concluding his reflection, Pope Francis quoted a line from his latest apostolic exhortation, "Gaudete et Exsultate", telling Christians to "let the grace of your Baptism bear fruit on a path of holiness..."

Last December, when US President Donald Trump announced the decision to move the embassy, Francis called for Jerusalem's "status quo" to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts.

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