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Pope calls for free access to Jerusalem holy sites

Published : 17 Apr 2022 10:28 PM | Updated : 18 Apr 2022 03:46 PM

Pope Francis on Sunday called for  free access to the holy sites in Jerusalem as he delivered his annual Easter  address amid simmering violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy City.

"May there be peace for the Middle East, racked by years of conflict and division. On this glorious day, let us ask for peace upon Jerusalem and peace upon all those who love her, Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. 

May Israelis, Palestinians and all who dwell in the Holy City, together with the pilgrims, experience the beauty of peace, dwell in fraternity and enjoy free access to the Holy Places in mutual respect for the rights of each," he said.

Read More: Jerusalem evictions that fueled Gaza war could still happen

Clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police wounded ten  protesters on Sunday morning in and around Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa  Mosque compound, the site of major clashes two days earlier, police said. The latest tensions in Jerusalem come as all three Abrahamic faiths mark  major festivals: Jewish Passover, Christian Easter and the Muslim fasting 

month of Ramadan. Weeks of mounting tensions saw two deadly attacks by Palestinians in or near 

the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv in late March and early April, alongside  mass arrests by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

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