1-November-2010 -- Vatican Information Service |

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Pope Decries Ferocious Attack On Iraq’s Christian Community

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned a ferocious attack on the Christian community of Iraq in which over 50 people were killed and dozens injured. In an appeal launched at the end of the Angelus prayer for the Feast of All Saints, the Holy Father once again renewed his call for an end to violence which is tearing the Middle East apart.

Rain lashed St Peter’s square Monday, as Pope Benedict XVI waited for the crowds gathered beneath the windows of his apartments to quieten. Then, speaking in Italian he began “ Last night, in a very serious attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad, dozens of people were killed and wounded, including two priests and a group of faithful gathered for Sunday Mass”.

He was speaking of the siege of Catholics in Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad by a group of Al Qaeda militants. A siege that tragically ended in a massacre when Iraqi security forces raided the place of worship to free the faithful being held inside.

The Pope continued “I pray for the victims of this senseless violence, all the more ferocious as it affected defenceless civilians", the Holy Father expressed his closeness to the martyred Christian community, targeted yet again by terrorists, and encouraged all pastors and faithful "to be strong and firm in hope”.

This latest attack comes less than a week from the closing of the special assembly of the Synod of bishops for the Churches in the Middle East, specifically called by Pope Benedict XVI to encourage the communities of the region.

“Faced with the brutal violence that continues to tear the peoples of the Middle East apart”, he concluded “I renew my appeal for peace: it is God's gift, but it is also the result of the efforts of men of good will, national and international institutions. We must all join forces to ensure an end to all violence!”.

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