Macron expresses ‘great concern’ about Gaza Catholic parish

Macron expresses ‘great concern’ about Gaza Catholic parish
Macron expresses ‘great concern’ about Gaza Catholic parish

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa by telephone yesterday to discuss the “tragic situation” there since the outbreak of war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants on October 7. — Pool via Reuters pic

PARIS, Dec 24 — French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “great concern” about a Catholic parish in war-torn Gaza with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, his office said today.

Macron spoke with Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa by telephone yesterday to discuss the “tragic situation” there since the outbreak of war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants on October 7.

“Hundreds of civilians of all confessions... have been living under bombs and bullets for more than two months while worshippers and nuns take care of the sick, elderly or disabled,” Macron was quoted as saying.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said on December 16 that an Israeli soldier shot dead “in cold blood” a Christian mother and daughter on the grounds of the Gaza Strip’s only Catholic church.

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Macron offered his condolences for the parishioners who he said were killed “shamefully”, a week after Pope Francis deplored their deaths.

The Israeli army told AFP that a review supported findings that no church was hit and that civilians were not injured or killed.

It said it “does not target civilians, no matter their religion”.

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As Christmas approaches, Macron asked Pizzaballa to “send a message of peace and solidarity to all Christians in the Holy Land and assure them France is by their side”.

The deadliest Gaza war was triggered by an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

Hamas militants crossed the militarised border between Gaza and Israel and killed about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

The gunmen also seized around 250 hostages, 129 of whom are believed to remain in Gaza, Israeli officials say.

Aiming to eliminate Hamas, Israel’s retaliatory military campaign in Gaza has killed more than 20,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s Hamas government. — AFP

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