Francis told faithful Sunday in St. Peter’s Square that he was following “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence” unleashed at a contested shrine. Last week Arab gunmen, shooting from the shrine, killed two Israeli policemen, three Palestinians were killed in street clashes and a Palestinian fatally stabbed three members of an Israeli family.
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Francis said: “I feel the need to express a distressed appeal for moderation and dialogue.” He invited others to pray with him so people would aim for reconciliation and peace.
Israeli authorities have imposed new security and tensions have been raised after the violence at what’s known as Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims.