Pope Francis has contacted the only Catholic Church in the Gaza Strip as the war between Hamas and Israel continues to scar the region.
The pontiff established personal communication with the Holy Family Church on Saturday and has called multiple times to keep abreast of the parish’s situation.
“The Pope called me a few minutes ago. He expressed his closeness and offered his prayers,” Father Gabriel Romanelli, who is currently in Bethlehem, told the Vatican’s news agency.
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Holy Family Church is the only Catholic Church in the Gaza Strip and has experienced acute danger on the sidelines of the ongoing conflict.
Israeli warplanes pounded downtown Gaza City with relentless bombardments into early Tuesday, after Israel’s prime minister vowed retaliation against the Islamic militant group that would “reverberate for generations.”
Romanelli, who remains in frequent contact with the community, said Pope Francis “wanted to show his closeness, and now he was going to call the community directly with my vicar helping people who are refugees in the parish.”
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The pope also contacted the small Catholic community on Monday, according to reports.
Parish leaders said that approximately 150 members have had their homes destroyed or been forced to seek shelter away from the violence.
No casualties have been reported in the Holy Family community thus far, but the violent conflict following Hamas terror attacks on Israel has threatened the parish’s safety.
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The four-day-old war has already claimed at least 1,600 lives after Hamas terrorists invaded the Gaza-Israel border and attacked towns and villages. Israel saw gun battles in the streets of its own towns for the first time in decades.
Pope Francis, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa and the heads of Christian churches throughout the Holy Land have made public pleas for an end to the carnage.
“The continuing bloodshed and declarations of war remind us once again of the urgent need to find a lasting and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in this land,” Pizzaballa said in a statement on Saturday.
Fox News Digital’s Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.
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