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Pope Francis Calls for End to Shedding of ‘Innocent Blood’ in Gaza

Pope Francis appealed Sunday for an end to the bloodshed in Gaza, underscoring the need to protect the civilian population.

“I continue to follow with great sorrow what is happening in Israel and Palestine,” the pontiff said following his weekly Angelus address in Saint Peter’s Square. “I think again of the many, in particular of the children and the elderly.”

The pope went on to invoke the Just War (ius in bello) principle of “discrimination,” which prohibits the targeting of non-combatants in waging war.

“I renew my appeal for the freeing of the hostages and I strongly ask that children, the sick, the elderly, women, and all civilians not be made victims of the conflict,” he urged.

“Humanitarian law is to be respected, especially in Gaza, where it is urgent and necessary to ensure humanitarian corridors and to come to the aid of the entire population,” he exhorted.

“Brothers and sisters, already many have died. Please, let no more innocent blood be shed, neither in the Holy Land nor in Ukraine, nor in any other place! Enough! Wars are always a defeat, always!” he concluded.

In his address, the pope also reiterated his concern for the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, calling for “the protection of the monasteries and places of worship in the region.”

Critics called out Francis for failing to mention the Armenian people in his appeal, “a new proof of the Vatican’s ambiguity that does not distinguish between aggressors and victims.”

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