During his weekly Angelus address, Pope Francis decried the use of men and boys as human shields during the fighting this week for the Iraqi city of Mosul. “This cruelty makes you cry, leaving us without words,” he said.
Pope Francis has expressed closeness to the people of Iraq as government forces there are trying to recapture the northern city of Mosul, which has been under the control of the so-called Islamic State since 2014.
In his weekly Angelus address Sunday, the pontiff said he was “distressed” at hearing reports that Isis forces have been using young Iraqi boys and children as human-shields during the fighting.
“In this dramatic hours, I am close to the entire population of Iraq, in particular to that of the city of Mosul,” said the pope, speaking from the window of the apostolic palace to crowds in St. Peter’s Square.
“Our souls are shaken by the brutal acts of violence that for too long have been committed against innocent citizens, be they Muslim, Christian, or of other ethnicities or religions,” said Francis.