Europe

Pope wishes Christmas peace to those scarred by war

  • Pope Francis waves to faithful prior to delivering the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for ' to the city and to the world' ) Christmas' day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis waves to faithful prior to delivering the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for ' to the city and to the world' ) Christmas' day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Swiss Guard left, and a Carabinieri officer stand guard in front of Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. Saturday's late night Mass was the first major event of the Christmas season, followed by Francis' noon Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) blessing on Christmas day. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    A Swiss Guard left, and a Carabinieri officer stand guard in front of Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. Saturday's late night Mass was the first major event of the Christmas season, followed by Francis' noon Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) blessing on Christmas day. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • The Carabinieri band march in front of Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. Saturday's late night Mass was the first major event of the Christmas season, followed by Francis' noon Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) blessing on Christmas day. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    The Carabinieri band march in front of Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. Saturday's late night Mass was the first major event of the Christmas season, followed by Francis' noon Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) blessing on Christmas day. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has wished Christmas peace for people scarred by wars and those who lost loved ones to terrorism that he says is sowing "fear and death" in many cities and countries.

Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica Sunday, Francis cited those suffering through the Syrian war, especially during the "most awful battles" in Aleppo. He pressed the international community for a negotiated solution. He urged Israelis and Palestinians to abandon hate and revenge.

He also lamented that in Nigeria "fundamentalist terrorism exploits even children," a reference to child suicide-bombers.

He decried conflicts and tensions in Africa, eastern Ukraine, Myanmar, the Korean peninsula, Colombia and Venezuela.

Tens of thousands of faithful entering St. Peter's Square endured long lines for security checks.