Vatican confirms pope to meet relatives of Gaza hostages, Palestinians

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis holds a weekly audience at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Friday confirmed a report by Reuters that Pope Francis will meet separately next week with relatives of hostages held by Hamas militants and with a delegation of Palestinians with family members in Gaza.

"With these meetings, which are of an exclusively humanitarian character, Pope Francis wants to show his spiritual closeness to the sufferings of both," Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

The meetings will be held on Wednesday in the Vatican.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella)