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Pope Francis condemns Israel’s assassination of volunteers in Gaza

Vatican City, Apr 3 (Prensa Latina) Pope Francis on Wednesday expressed sorrow after the brutal assassination by Israel of seven volunteers from the World Central Kitchen, a non-governmental organization that operates in the Gaza Strip, as they were delivering food to civilians.

The Vatican News website reported that at the conclusion of the traditional audience held every Wednesday at 09:00 hours, local time, in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope noted ‘with a trembling voice’ that ‘unfortunately, sad news continues to arrive from the Middle East.’

The Bishop of Rome renewed his ‘firm request for an immediate ceasefire in the Strip,’ which has been devastated by Israel’s bombings, which have already killed more than 32,900 people, and urged to avoid ‘any irresponsible attempt to spread the conflict throughout the region.’

“I express my deep sorrow for the volunteers killed while distributing food aid in Gaza. I pray for them and their families,” Francis said.

A drone fired three shots at the convoy in which the seven aid workers were traveling, two Palestinians with dual nationality, from the United States and Canada, as well as five citizens from Australia, the United Kingdom and Poland, who had taken every precaution to avoid being attacked,’ the news media noted.

They “were advancing along a route previously agreed with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), but all of them were killed within minutes of each other,” the report said, a tragic fact about which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu limited himself to considering it as something that ‘happens in times of war.’

The Pope called to grant access to the ‘exhausted and suffering’ civilian population of Gaza to humanitarian aid, and urged Hamas to release Israeli hostages.

The Pontiff also asked to work ‘so that this and other wars that continue to bring death and suffering to many parts of the world, may end as soon as possible’, the source adds.