Pope to meet Israeli hostages’ families, Palestinian refugees


Pope Francis will be meeting with the families of Israeli hostages and groups of Palestinians displaced by the ongoing conflict.

The pontiff will meet with both groups following a General Audience at the Vatican on Nov. 22.

“Pope Francis will meet separately with a group of relatives of Israelis held hostage in Gaza and a group of family members of Palestinians suffering from the conflict in Gaza,” said Director of the Holy See Press Office Matteo Bruni.

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Pope Francis presides over the Holy Mass in memory of the late Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI and the Cardinals and Bishops who died during the year 2023. Vatican City. (Grzegorz Galazka/Archivio Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

The groups will meet with Pope Francis separately — the Vatican made clear the talks were strictly of “a humanitarian nature.”

There remain up to 238 Hamas hostages in Gaza, and 10 of them are believed to be Americans. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims more than 11,200 Gazans have been killed in the fighting, though they do not distinguish between Palestinian civilians and Hamas terrorists.

Bruni stated, “As he stated at the end of last Sunday’s Angelus, ‘Every human being, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, of any people and religion, every human being is sacred, precious in the eyes of God, and has the right to live in peace.”

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Red balloons over photos of missing Israelis

This photograph shows an installation consisting of balloons and pictures of Israeli hostages abducted by Palestinian militants during the October 7 attack and currently held in the Gaza Strip, attached to auditorium seats at the Jerusalem Convention Centre. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

He added that Pope Francis wishes to express “spiritual closeness to the suffering of each individual.”

The Israeli military continues to target Hamas leadership in northern Gaza and has captured several the terrorist groups’ key bases in the region.

The Israel Defense Forces said it struck an Islamic Jihad stronghold overnight Thursday during continued ground operations in Gaza. 

Palestinians carry their belongings as they flee their houses

Palestinians carry their belongings as they flee their houses, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Gaza City. (REUTERS/Mohammed Al-Masri)

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Communication systems are down in the Palestinian territory for the second day as U.N. aid agencies warn the Gaza Strip lacks adequate food and clean water. 

More than 12,000 people have been killed on both sides in the Israel-Hamas war.

Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom, Louis Casiano and Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report.



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