Pope Francis on Saturday called on the Catholic faithful to offer a prayer for Jerusalem amid the ongoing violence in the Israeli capital.
Addressing a crowd at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome for a prayer marking the Feast of All Saints, Francis noted that “Today’s liturgy speaks of the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem. I invite you to pray that the Holy City, dear to Jews, Christians and Muslims, which in recent days has witnessed diverse tensions, always be a sign and foretaste of the peace which God desires for the whole human family.”
Jerusalem has been beset by sporadic, low-level violence in recent weeks. The pope’s plea for Jerusalem came amid daily riots in the predominantly Arab neighborhoods of Silwan, Shuafat, and Wadi Joz.
Minor clashes erupted in the West Bank Friday after weekly Muslim prayers, while security forces deployed heavily around Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City’s Temple Mount compound. Police reopened the compound to Muslim worshippers having closed it Thursday after a Palestinian man, Mutaz Hijazi, the main suspect in the Wednesday shooting of Rabbi Yehudah Glick, was killed in the mixed Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor.
A week earlier a Palestinian man from the restive neighborhood of Silwan drove his car into a light rail station, killing two and injuring several others. The suspected perpetrator was shot by police and later succumbed to his wounds.