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Palestinians outside a house destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Tuesday (OSV News/Mohammed Salem, Reuters)

Israel has agreed to daily four-hour military pauses in northern Gaza for humanitarian purposes, the White House has announced, while Pope Francis has again expressed his sorrow for the situation in the Holy Land. Sources: The Australian and Vatican News.

US President Joe Biden has been pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for longer breaks in the fighting after more than a month of war sparked by the October 7 attacks by Hamas.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the pauses were “significant steps forward” as heavy fighting took hold of Gaza City in the north of the Gaza strip.

“Israel will begin to implement four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza each day, with an announcement to be made three hours beforehand,” Mr Kirby told reporters.

The pauses would allow humanitarian aid to get into the area and allow civilians to flee the fighting, he said.

Israel had also opened up “humanitarian corridors” for the past few days that had already allowed “many thousands” of people to leave the worst-hit area of north Gaza to the south, Mr Kirby added.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis yesterday expressed his sorrow for the situation in the Holy Land as he met with members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in the Vatican.

“We are sadly witnessing a tragedy unfolding in the very places where the Lord lived, where He taught us through His humanity to love, to forgive, and to do good to all. And instead, we see them torn apart by tremendous suffering that affects so many innocents above all, so many innocent dead,” the Pope said.

The origins of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem date back to the First Crusade, when its leader, Godfrey de Bouillon, liberated Jerusalem. The Order’s members and leadership serve the Catholic Church and carry out acts of charity to make the operations to maintain the Christian presence in the Holy Land possible.


Israel to begin four-hour ‘pauses’ in Gaza (AFP via The Australian)

Pope Francis: ‘Tragedy is unfolding where the Lord lived’ (By Deborah Castellano Lubov, Vatican News)