Vatican City

Pope appeals for Gaza-Israel ceasefire

'Courageous decisions from both sides,' pontiff urges

Pope appeals for Gaza-Israel ceasefire

Vatican City, November 21 - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday appealed for peace between Israel and Gaza Strip ruling group Hamas as violence escalated in the week-long conflict with a bus bomb in Tel Aviv. He called for "courageous decisions from both sides". The pope encouraged international efforts to "achieve a truce and promote negotiations". International efforts to broker a truce are continuing with talks in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Cairo. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon are in the region to discuss a ceasefire. Wednesday's bus bomb in Israel's commercial capital, greeted with celebratory gunfire in Gaza, left 20 wounded, five of them "in a serious or moderate condition," according to Israeli sources. The attack took place on the eighth day of Israeli raids and missile strikes and rockets from militants in Gaza, after exchanges flared when Israel killed Hamas's military chief Ahmed Jabari a week ago. Some 139 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed.

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