December 20, 2014
Pope calls Peres, Abbas to voice 'grave concerns' about Gaza crisis
Pope Francis telephoned Israeli President Shimon Peres and West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today to express his "very grave concerns" over the conflict in Gaza, the Vatican said.
"A small group of fanatics are the cause of suffering in Gaza. Israel is doing everything to lower the flames and minimise civilian casualties," Peres replied, according to statement from the President's Office.
Abbas, who held a prayer for peace with Peres at the Vatican last month, told the pontiff he was "exerting all required effort, together with Egypt and all other parties to halt the bloodshed and relieve out people's suffering", according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.