Pope Francis has condemned Tuesday’s jihadist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, calling it “a senseless act of violence.”
“Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury following the attack in a hotel complex in Nairobi, His Holiness Pope Francis assures all those affected by this senseless act of violence of his spiritual closeness,” reads a telegram sent Thursday by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
The pope “extends heartfelt condolences to all Kenyans, in particular the families of the deceased and all those injured,” it continues. “Praying for God’s healing grace, His Holiness willingly invokes upon the entire nation the divine blessings of consolation and strength.”
At least 21 victims were killed and another fifty injured in the assault on an upmarket hotel and office complex in Nairobi, which began with an explosion and was followed by extended gunfire.
The Somalia-based jihadist terror group al-Shabaab, affiliated with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Among the victims was 40-year-old Jason Spindler, an American citizen and a survivor of the 9/11 terror attack on the Twin Towers in 2001.
Tuesday’s assault was reminiscent of a similar attack in 2013 when armed al-Shabaab militants stormed the Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, killing at least 67 people.
On April 2, 2015, al-Shabaab attacked students at the Garissa University College, in eastern Kenya, killed 148 people, most of whom were Christians.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome