The surprise attacks began early on the morning of Oct. 7, the start of the observance of the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah.
Israel reacted to the attacks by fighting back in southern Israel and launching airstrikes in Gaza. Israeli military official Daniel Hagari told reporters Sunday morning that “hundreds of terrorists” had been killed during fighting in Gaza and southern Israel, the Associated Press reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday Israel is “at war.”
In an appeal at the end of his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis said “terrorism and war do not bring any solution, but only death and suffering for many innocent people. War is a failure. Every war is a failure.”
He said he is close to the families of the victims and called for prayers “that there will be peace in Israel and Palestine.”
The pope also recalled that the month of October is dedicated to the rosary, and asked Catholics to continue to pray through the intercession of Mary “for the gift of peace for the many countries of the world marked by war and conflict.”
Pizzaballa, who was created a cardinal by Pope Francis in a consistory Sept. 30, called the sudden outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine “very concerning due to its extension and intensity.”
“The too many casualties and tragedies, which both Palestinians and Israeli families have to deal with, will create more hatred and division, and will destroy more and more any perspective of stability,” the patriarch added.
“We ask God to inspire world leaders in their intervention for the implementation of peace and concord,” he said, “so that Jerusalem may be a house of prayer for all peoples.”
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem also announced that “due to the present circumstances,” celebrations in honor of Pizzaballa’s inclusion in the College of Cardinals have been canceled until further notice.