The international justice committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for peace in the embattled Holy Land after last week’s surprise incursion by Hamas into Israel resulted in a declaration of war by Israel.

In a statement on Sunday, Rockford Bishop David Malloy, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, lamented the “mounting casualties and hostilities unfolding on all sides,” as well as the “increased threats to the status quo of the holy places among Jews, Muslims, and Christians.”

“I join with Pope Francis in his call for peace and his condemnation of this widespread outbreak of violence,” Malloy said.

He quoted from the Holy Father’s Sunday address, in which the pope implored: “May the attacks and weaponry cease. Please! And let it be understood that terrorism and war do not lead to any resolutions, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people.”

“May all who love the Holy Land seek to bring about among all the parties engaged in the fighting a cessation of violence, respect for civilian populations and the release of hostages,” Malloy urged. 

The strike by Hamas resulted in hundreds of Israeli deaths, as well as reports of Hamas insurgents roaming through Israeli neighborhoods and allegedly abducting and killing citizens there. 

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari indicated on Monday that the country was prepared for a lengthy siege, claiming that the IDF was “in the midst of wide-scale aerial strikes” and that “thousands of terrorist targets have been struck and hundreds of terrorists have been neutralized.”

“We have called in 300,000 reservists over the past 48 hours, and there is no lack in equipment or food,” Hagari said. “Everything will come, patience is essential.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, said on Monday that Israel was “in the midst of a campaign” and that “what Hamas will experience will be difficult and terrible.”

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“[W]e are going to change the Middle East,” he said of the conflict.

Malloy in his statement urged the faithful to “recall especially all the families and individuals” suffering amid the conflict. 

“We call on the faithful, and all people of goodwill to not grow weary and to continue to pray for peace in the land Our Lord, the Prince of Peace, called home,” he said.