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Pope urges Israeli, Palestinian leaders to 'act immediately' on Gaza

 Pope Benedict has called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to "act immediately to end the current tragic situation" in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking after the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said h deplored the "refusal to dialogue" which has resulted in an "indescribable worsening" of conditions through ground fighting for the coastal strip's population, "once again the victims of hatred and war".

He said: "War and hatred are not solutions to problems. Today, in all the churches of the Holy Land," church leaders are "calling on worshippers to pray for the end to the conflict in the Gaza Strip and for justice and peace for their land. I join in their prayers and invite you to do the same."

The Vatican has yet to confirm that the Holy Father will visit Israel, reportedly set for May 8-15.