Pope Francis has voiced his deep concern over the recent conflict in the Middle East, appealing for peace and a lasting ceasefire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants based in the Gaza Strip. The pontiff expressed this sentiment during his Sunday Regina Coeli prayer, stressing the toll the conflict has taken on civilian lives, particularly women and children.

The recent bout of violence, which started Tuesday last week, saw Israel and Islamic Jihad militants exchanging fire. The conflict was triggered by an Israeli air strike that resulted in the death of three top commanders of the militant group. A ceasefire, facilitated by Egypt, was enforced on Saturday and seemed to hold through Sunday.

The Pope ardently expressed his hope for a lasting ceasefire, highlighting the devastating impact of the conflict on innocent lives. Reports indicate at least 13 civilians, including children as young as four, were killed in Gaza due to the strikes.

Pope Francis underscored the futility of armed conflict in achieving true security and stability, stating that arms only serve to obliterate any prospects for peace. He reiterated his hope that the ceasefire would persist and that all parties involved would choose to lay down their weapons.

On the day following the enforcement of the truce, the Pope implored the Virgin Mary, during his Regina Caeli address, to intercede for all nations currently grappling with the scourge of war and violence, including the war-torn Ukraine. He asked for her assistance in alleviating the suffering inflicted by these conflicts.

Pray for peace!

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