VATICAN CITY (CNS/Zenit): Pope John Paul II has appealed to radical groups in Iraq to show “feelings of humanity” and release the hostages they are holding.
At the same time, the Pope deplored the “inhuman” violence in the Holy Land, the day after the leader of the Palestinian militant organisation Hamas was assassinated in an Israeli missile attack.
The pontiff made his appeal last Sunday after reciting midday prayers from his apartment window overlooking St Peter’s Square.
“I am following with great sadness the tragic news coming out of the Holy Land and Iraq,” the Pope said.
“May the bloodshed among brothers end. Such inhuman acts are contrary to the will of God,” he said.
The Pope said he joined in the prayers of families “who are fearful for their loved ones, especially those who have been taken as hostages”.
The Pope did not name the nationalities of the hostages.
On April 16, Cardinal Renato Martino, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, expressed the Holy See’s willingness to mediate in favour of the hostages’ release.