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Pope Francis calls war in Gaza “terrorism”

Pope Francis Associated Press/Photo by Andrew Medichini

Pope Francis calls war in Gaza “terrorism”

Controversy erupted Wednesday after Pope Francis met separately with families of Israeli hostages and Palestinians killed in Gaza. Francis met at the Vatican with 12 family members of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas and 10 family members of Palestinian civilians killed or otherwise affected by the war in Gaza. After the meetings, Francis spoke at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City and said the conflict in Gaza has “gone beyond war” and is now “terrorism.” He noted that both sides have suffered greatly and prayed for peace for Israelis and Palestinians. He also urged the public not to forget victims of other wars, most specifically, “the dear peoples of Ukraine, the tortured Ukraine.”

Didn’t he refer to the war as “genocide” too? At a press conference after their meeting with Pope Francis, the Palestinians claimed he used the word “genocide” when referring to the war. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he was “not aware” that Francis used that term, saying Francis used the same terms in private as he did to the public audience in St. Peter’s Square. No media was present to confirm or deny the Pope's comments.

Dig deeper: Read Kim Henderson’s report on the rise in anti-Semitism on college campuses.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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