Pope Francis has appealed for an extension of the truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, saying that "war is always a defeat" for everyone except arms manufacturers.
Speaking at the end of his General Audience on Wednesday he said: "I hope that the truce underway in Gaza will continue, so that all the hostages might be freed, and the necessary humanitarian aid might be able to enter."
"May we please continue to pray for the serious situation in Israel and Palestine. Peace, please, peace."
The Holy Father mentioned that he had recently spoken by phone with Gaza's Catholic parish of the Holy Family.
"They don't have water; they don't have bread; ordinary people are suffering; the people are suffering," he said. "It's not those who make war who are suffering."
"Let us now ask for peace, and let us not forget, while asking for peace, the dear Ukrainian people, who are suffering a lot and still fighting a war."
"War is always a defeat," he concluded. "Everyone loses. Well, not everyone-there's a group that earns a lot. Those who make weapons. They earn a lot from the deaths of others."
Conditions in Gaza have remained grim for 2.3 million Palestinians, hammered by weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground onslaught that have driven three-quarters of the population from their homes.
For the latest OCHA reports from Gaza, the Occupied West Bank and Israel see: www.ochaopt.org/content/hostilities-gaza-strip-and-israel-flash-update-53