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Jerusalem cardinal offers himself to Hamas in exchange for the children being held hostage

Israel said it believes Hamas has 199 people, including children and people with special needs, hostage in Gaza.

Published: October 16, 2023 1:54pm

The Roman Catholic Church's cardinal in Jerusalem said he would exchange himself for the children who were taken hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa's comments about the unofficial offer were made in response to a question from a journalist during an online meeting with the press. 

"If I’m available for an exchange?" Pizzaballa responded, according to Vatican News. "Anything, if this could bring about the freedom of children, no problem. On my part, absolute willingness."

Israel said Monday that it believes Hamas has 199 people, including children and people with special needs, hostage in Gaza. Many of the hostages are suffering critical injuries from amputation and rape, according to the group Bring Them Home Now.

More than 1,400 people, including at least 29 U.S. citizens, were killed when Hamas terrorists entered Israel on Oct. 7. 

Pizzaballa last week called dialogue between Israel and Hamas "unrealistic."

He reiterated his stance Monday but said the Holy See has offered to act as a mediator.

"We have offered our readiness at least to try to bring the hostages back, at least some of them, this is being attempted. It is very difficult because, for mediation, you need to have interlocutors. And at this moment, it's not possible to talk to Hamas," he said. 

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