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Custody of the Holy Land: First innocent victims of Israel-Hamas war are children, mothers

Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Fr. Faltas welcome the children

Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, said in an interview with SIR that, similar to any war, the first innocent victims of the ongoing conflict between Israeli and Hamas forces were mothers and children. 

The attacks have killed over 12,300 children and 8,400 women since the war began in October 2023.

“Many children have been left orphans, and many mothers have lost their children,” Faltas said. 

Children were killing and dying of hunger due to the absence of food, he noted. Women were giving birth while bombs were exploding. 

"We cannot close our eyes and hearts to hungry and scared children," Faltas said. "We cannot remain indifferent to knowing that 60,000 pregnant women in Gaza suffer from hunger and malnutrition in their delicate and important condition: that of giving life.”

In an interview with the Italian Catholic News Service, the vicar delivered this plea on Saturday.

The women and children in Gaza needed immediate food aid, Faltas announced. 

"We can't just tell them that their hunger must wait until the powerful people of the world have given their permission to feed them," or leave them starving, said the Franciscan friar. 

The priest has personally communicated with the victims in Gaza. 

“I listen to their stories; I read their stories, and I try to understand how certain adults don’t feel the need to stop, to help, to stop committing injustices,” Faltas said. 

He asked for prayer, "that the light of truth that defeats hypocrisy may touch consciences." We defend those who suffer the evils of war; we try to be the voice of those who no longer have a voice to ask for truth, justice, and peace. “

Faltas was in Italy, collaborating with groups to transfer children from Gaza to Italian pediatric hospitals. 

The first group of children from Gaza arrived in Italy on January 29.

The friar has called for immediate action to save children and mothers trapped in the war in Gaza. 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.