POPE Francis called on Sunday for humanitarian corridors to allow the delivery of essentials to the Gaza Strip, which is under heavy Israeli bombardment following a bloody attack by its rulers, Hamas.
In a heartfelt plea for peace, Pope Francis called upon the leaders of Israel and Palestine to put an end to the recent wave of violence that has gripped the region.
The pontiff made his appeal during a special prayer service held at the Vatican, urging both sides to engage in dialogue and find a peaceful resolution to the long-standing conflict.
According to the United Nations, more than one million people have been displaced in the Gaza Strip in the last week after sustained Israeli bombardment and warnings about a ground attack against Hamas commanders.
Israel declared war on the Islamist group last Sunday, a day after waves of fighters broke through the heavily fortified border and shot, stabbed, and burned to death more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians.
Seven days of relentless bombing targeting those who masterminded the attack have left more than 2,300 people dead, the majority ordinary Palestinians.
But even as Israel seeks to avenge the worst attack in its history, it faced a grave warning about the security implications of putting boots on the ground in the densely populated enclave.
Aid agencies, including the UN and ICRC, as well as foreign governments have repeatedly criticised Israel’s request for Gazans to leave their homes and accused it of inflicting collective punishment on ordinary people.