The head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, Pope Francis, has called for an end to violence in Al-Aqsa Mosque, annexed east Jerusalem, where clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police have left scores of Palestinians injured.

He made the call after delivering his Regina Caeli prayer from the window overlooking St Peter’s Square, the pope said he was “following with particular concern the events that are happening in Jerusalem”.

“I pray so that this might be a place of encounter and not violent clashes, a place of prayer and of peace.

“I invite everyone to seek shared resolutions so that the multi-religious identity and multi-culture of the holy city might be respected and so that fraternity might prevail.

“Violence only generates violence. Let’s stop these clashes.” Pope Francis said.

Tensions ran high Sunday in east Jerusalem after hundreds of Palestinians were wounded in a weekend of clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces, sparking global concern that the unrest could spread further.

The violence around Jerusalem’s revered Al-Aqsa mosque compound and the Old City, mostly at night, is the worst since 2017, fuelled by a years-long bid by Jewish settlers to take over Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem.

The pope also offered his prayers for the victims of the attack on Saturday at a school in Kabul, describing it as “an inhumane action that killed many girls as they were leaving school”.

“Let us pray for all of them and for their families, and that God might grant peace to Afghanistan,” he said.

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