Egypt's Pope Tawadros II called on the country’s Coptic Christians to dedicate a 15-day fast to those "suffering in Gaza," Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website has reported.
"How can humans do this to other humans," the pope wondered incredulously, with Gaza entering 24 days under a continuing Israeli offensive on its territory which has so far left over 1360 Palestinians dead.
In a sermon on Wednesday, Tawadros asked Egyptian Coptic Christians to dedicate their fast to all those suffering in the Arab world -- particularly Gaza, Iraq and Syria.
The 15-day fast -- to take place from 7 to 22 August -- precedes the Dormition of Theotokos, or Feast of the Virgin Mary.
On Wednesday Egypt strongly condemned, for the second time in two days, the Israeli "excessive use of unjustified" violence towards innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
While Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians’ only land crossing not under Israeli control, remains closed despite the violence, around 100 injured Palestinians have been allowed to cross into Egypt since the beginning of hostilities to seek medical treatment.