WCC general secretary denounces Middle East violence, urges strengthened peace efforts

Repeated and new forms of violence in Middle East, notably in Jerusalem, Damascus and Baghdad, is strongly condemned, and calls for more prayer and strengthened peace efforts to halt extremists seeking do divide humanity, says the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) general secretary.

“Once again, people going about their daily lives, in celebration of holidays, have suffered violent attacks,” said the WCC’s general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in a statement on Sunday.

As three cities in Middle East suffered attacks on the same day, the WCC leader condemned any act of terror, including state terror, denouncing the violence, and mourning the loss of life, extending prayers for the victims and their families.

“We must join together, not just to condemn these actions but to strengthen our pursuit of just peace, and our resolve not to allow extremist violence to separate us from each other,” said Tveit.

He noted, “People in Jerusalem suffered a terrible incident today. Again a truck was used as mass-murder weapon? This is to be condemned by all. Every life is precious.”

Four people were killed in Jerusalem by a Palestinian who rammed a lorry into a group of soldiers, three women and a man, all in their twenties, and at least 13 more were wounded, in what Israeli police said was a terrorist attack.

In Damascus, at least five people were killed and 15 injured after a car bomb exploded in Syria's province of Damascus, outside the capital, new wire reports said citing a source in the Syrian police.

In Iraq, a car bomb struck a market in eastern Baghdad, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more.

Tveit assured those in Jerusalem, Baghdad and Damascus and across the world that the WCC fellowship stands with them in prayer, mourning and steadfast hope.

“We pray for the victims and their families,” he said, “and we seek God’s mercy, love and grace that we may be empowered with strength to continue our pilgrimage of justice and peace.”

Tveit underlined "Now is the time to build national and joint international responsible leadership to find political solutions and joint efforts to establish peace with justice in this region of the world, which has been so militarized and ordinary citizens have become the victims."

Source: WCC