Pope Francis has made an emotional appeal to the world, calling to stop war, especially in the Middle East and Ukraine, saying that the children who live in conflict zones are suffering most and are deprived of hope and a future.
“Please stop! I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please!” his voice was breaking as Pope Francis spoke at his weekly Angelus address to believers gathered in Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
Francis was making comments devoted to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I – which started on July 28, 1914 – when he suddenly began his impromptu and emotional speech. He called upon people “not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”
“Let us remember that everything is lost in war, nothing is lost in peace…” he said, adding that his thoughts were particularly with people affected by the war in the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine.
Francis said that he was thinking about all the children, “who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future” in the war-struck regions.
“Dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can’t smile anymore.”
While he was making his address, Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) resumed fighting in the Gaza Strip, after Palestinian militants violated a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire on Saturday.
Later on Sunday, however, Hamas finally agreed to a new 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip starting at 1100 GMT, but the mutual shelling continued.
As Operation Protective Edge enters its 20th day, the Gaza death toll has reached at least 1,050 – mostly civilians.
Another world hot spot – eastern Ukraine – has seen clashes and fighting which kill and injure people every day. At least 24 civilians were killed and another 85 injured as the city of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine was heavily shelled by Kiev forces on Friday and Saturday.
According to OSCE reports, at least 250 civilians were killed and over 850 wounded in June and July in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk. On July 10, Ukraine’s deputy health minister said 478 civilians had been killed in the conflict, with nearly 1,400 people receiving injuries.