Pope Francis strongly condemned the ongoing Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, categorizing them as acts of ‘terrorism’ by using his strongest language to date.
“I continue receiving very serious and sad news about Gaza,” he stated.
“Unarmed civilians are targets for bombs and gunfire,” he continued. “And this has happened even within the parish complex of the Holy Family, where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick and have disabilities, sisters.”
The pope went on to cite a particular incident of a mother and her daughter, Nahida Khalil Anton and Samar Kamal Anton, who were allegedly in the attacks. Additionally, he mentioned a damaged generator at “the house of the Sisters of Mother Teresa.”
“Some are saying, ‘This is terrorism and war,’” he declared. “Yes, it is war, it is terrorism. That is why Scripture says that ‘God puts an end to war…the bow he breaks and the spear he snaps’ (cf. Ps 46:9).”
Critics of Israel, including President Joe Biden, have accused Israelis of engaging in “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza following the Oct. 7 attack by the Hamas Palestinian terror group, resulting in over 1,300 casualties. However, recent reports present a different perspective.
According to Steve Ganyard, a former State Department official and Marine Corps fighter pilot who is now an ABC News contributor, a U.S. intelligence report indicates a historically high use of precision weapons in urban warfare against Hamas.
“Precision weapons are expensive and in short supply compared to ‘dumb’ bombs, but if Israel is using precision aerial weapons 55-60% of the time, then that is more than any country in the history of urban warfare,” Ganyard said.
According to an official from the U.S. Department of Defense, Israel is “doing everything it can to mitigate civilian harm and casualties, including with its use of unguided munitions.”
Herzi Halevi, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), stated on Sunday that Israel has three objectives in its ground operation in Gaza: to “dismantle Hamas,” to “restore security” to the residents of the communities near the Gaza Strip, and to secure “the return of the hostages.”
The extreme challenge of differentiating terrorists from regular civilians in a setting like Gaza was tragically underscored on Friday when three Israeli hostages were mistakenly shot by Israeli soldiers who had confused them with terrorists on the battlefield.
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