A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Jan 6A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Jan 6VATICAN CITY – As the assault by Israel on Gaza continued, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, called for an immediate cease-?re to allow the wounded and their physicians to reach the region’s hospitals.

“Caritas calls for action from the United States, the European Union and the international community to press for an immediate cease-?re to enable the sick and wounded to be treated,” said the cardinal.


“War cannot be justi?ed either by Israel or by Hamas,” the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, the cardinal said.

Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organisation for 162 national Catholic charities, also called for the immediate opening of two more crossings into the Gaza Strip so that medical and other aid can reach the region's people.

Pope Benedict XVI also urged Israelis and Palestinians to end the violent, armed clashes and start peace talks.

“Hatred and the rejection of dialogue bring nothing but war,” he said.

Despite the bombings and hardship, most Catholic aid agencies and other Catholic organisations are staying on. Among them are six Missionaries of Charity working in Gaza City. The six sisters – from India, Malta, the Philippines, Rwanda and Slovakia

– continue to bathe, feed and care for 10 incapacitated elderly women and 10 severely mentally and physically disabled children as well as they can. - CNS

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