21-July-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Sends Message to Argentine Parish Priest in Gaza

Offers Words of Comfort, Assures of Prayers

VATICAN CITY, July 21, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis has offered words of comfort to Gaza's Christian Community as the massacre in the territory continues.

In a message to the parish priest of Gaza, Father Jorge Hernandez, a fellow Argentinian, Pope Francis said he is keeping the territory's Christian community in his prayers, reported Vatican Radio Friday.

The Holy Father offered words of comfort and assured them he was praying for all those living through this conflict, now in its 14th day.

The parish priest of Beit Jala in the West Bank, Father Mario Cornioli, had earlier informed the Pope of the extremely challenging situation facing the small Christian community in Gaza and all the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip which has been caused by Israeli bombardments aimed at trying to halt rocket attacks by militants.

Pope Francis' message had given Christians in Gaza fresh courage and hope, Father Cornioli said in an interview with Vatican Radio.

At the same time, he said the casualties are mounting as a result of the ground and air offensive, with many wounded arriving in Gaza's hospitals and the medical staff are struggling to cope with the influx. The priest urged the international community to do all in their power to help stop "this massacre."

Yesterday, Gaza's Shejaiya district was bombarded by Israel forces, killing more than 60 Palestinians, sources report.

As a result, thousands were sent fleeing in the deadliest assault on the Palestinian enclave in five years.

To date, this conflict in Gaza between Israel and the militant group Hamas has killed more than 410 Palestinians and seven Israelis, two of whom were civilians, and five were soldiers. (D.C.L.)

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