Updated: May 16, 2021 07:42 AM GMT
Palestinians carry a survivor from the rubble of a building after it was struck by Israeli bombs in Gaza city on May 16. Islamist group Hamas fired back rocket barrages. (Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP)
Archbishop Benny Mario Travas of Karachi has joined the Christian community in condemning the loss of lives in violence in the Palestinian city of Gaza and Israel.
He emphasized the need for peace and an end to the raging conflict between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
The Pakistani archbishop offered special prayers for the eternal rest of those who had died in the conflict and prayed for the health of those who had been injured.
Father Edward Joseph, vicar general of Karachi Archdiocese, highlighted the concerns of Pope Francis, who has called for an end to the clashes in Jerusalem and for the Holy City's multireligious and multicultural identity to be respected.
In their joint statement, Archbishop Travas and Father Joseph requested their clergy, religious and all Christian faithful to have special prayer services at their churches on May 16 to pray for an end to the conflict and for peace to prevail in Jerusalem.
Archbishop Travas also called on the United Nations and the international community to make every effort possible to bring peace, stability and harmony in the region and protect the lives and property of all people living there.
The escalation came hours after Israeli missiles hit a refugee camp, killing at least 10 Palestinians including eight children
Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip entered its seventh consecutive day on May 16, with air raids in the early hours killing at least four Palestinians, wounding dozens more and flattening at least two residential buildings.
The home of Gaza’s Hamas chief Yehya al-Sinwar was also hit, according to the group’s TV.
The escalation came hours after Israeli missiles hit a refugee camp, killing at least 10 Palestinians including eight children, and brought down a high-rise building housing the offices of media organizations including Al Jazeera and Associated Press.
In a televised speech on May 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to continue the offensive on Gaza for “as long as necessary” as Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said “the resistance will not give in”.
At least 149 Palestinians, including 41 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the past week. Some 950 others have been wounded.
In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least 13 Palestinians.
At least 10 people in Israel have also been killed, with two new deaths reported on May 15. The Israeli army said hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza at various locations in Israel.
The United Nations Security Council is due to meet on May 16 to discuss the worst outbreak of violence in years in Palestine and Israel.