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Pope prays for victims of Turkish bombing

VATICAN (AsiaNews): Pope Francis expressed his great sorrow for the victims of what he described as the terrible massacre in Ankara, Turkey, when two bombs were detonated in the midst of a peaceful rally on October 10.

He called on everyone gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly midday prayer on October 11 to pray in silence for the dead, the wounded and bereaved families.

At least 105 people died and 246 were injured, 48 of them extremely seriously.

Pope Francis expressed “pain for the many deaths; pain for the wounded; pain because the attackers struck defenceless people who were demonstrating for peace.”

He added, “As I pray for that dear country I ask the Lord to welcome the souls of the dead and comfort those who are suffering and the families.”

Pietro Cardinal Parolin, the secretary of state for the Vatican, sent a telegramme on behalf of the pope to the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying, “His Holiness Pope Francis is deeply saddened.”

The telegramme continues, “While His Holiness deplores this barbaric act, he asks you to convey his spiritual closeness to all the families affected during this time of grief, and to the security and emergency personnel working to assist the wounded. Commending the souls of all who have died to the loving mercy of the Almighty, Pope Francis invokes divine strength and peace upon their grieving relatives.”

The pope pointed out that October 13 is International Day for Disaster Reduction, saying, “We must unfortunately recognise that the effects of such calamities are often compounded by man’s lack of care of the environment by man.”

He added, “I join all those who with foresight are committed to the protection of our common home, to the promotion of a global and local culture of disaster reduction and to greater resilience against them, through harmonising new and traditional knowledge, with particular attention for the most vulnerable populations.”

Two bombs were exploded in front of the Ankara Central Railway Station and appear to have been aimed at a Labour and Peace Democracy rally against the conflict between the Turkish Armed Forces and the Kurdistan Workers Party.

It came just 21 days before the scheduled elections in Turkey.


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