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Pope Francis meets with families of Israeli hostages

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on March 20, 2024

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 04/10/24

Pope Francis met with relatives of Israelis who are still being held hostage by Hamas' forces after being kidnapped on October 7, 2023.

On the morning of April 8, 2024, Pope Francis received at the Vatican members of five Israeli families whose loved ones were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, announced Vatican News. At the same time, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, met with the head of Vatican diplomacy, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, to discuss the conflict and the hostage issue, said the Israeli Embassy to the Holy See.

On October 7, 2023, a raid by Hamas forces resulted in the deaths of 1,100 people and the kidnapping of 240 others, including women, children, and the elderly – in both cases mostly Israelis. Among those kidnapped who are still being held by Hamas’ forces, are members of the Bibas, Berger, Dalal, Miran and Nimrodi families, who met the Pontiff on Monday morning.

On X, the Israeli Embassy to the Holy See emphasized the “very cordial meeting” which reportedly lasted 35 minutes. In photos released by the embassy, family members posed next to the Pope, holding posters with the faces of their kidnapped family members with messages calling for their release.

The Pontiff had already met a group of relatives of Israeli hostages on November 22, 2023, just before receiving a delegation of relatives of Palestinians suffering from the conflict in Gaza. Those two meetings created some discontent on the Israeli side, and generated as much hope as confusion on the Palestinian side.

For several months now, the Pope has been calling regularly for the release of Israeli hostages, as well as for a ceasefire and access for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Tags:
IsraelPope FrancisVaticanWar
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