Pope Francis expressed his “deep sorrow” for Tuesday’s Islamist terror attack in New York, as well as for other recent jihadist attacks in Somalia and Afghanistan, in a heartfelt plea Wednesday.
Before a crowd of some 25,000 pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the noon Angelus prayer Wednesday, the Pope prayed for the conversion of terrorists’ hearts and asked God to rid the world of the murderous madness of those who kill in the name of the Lord.
“I am deeply saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in Somalia, Afghanistan and yesterday in New York,” Francis said. “In deploring such acts of violence, I pray for the dead, the injured and their families.”
“Let us ask the Lord to convert the hearts of the terrorists and to free the world from hatred and from the homicidal lunacy that abuses God’s name to sow death.”
On Tuesday, 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove a truck through lower Manhattan, mowing down pedestrians. According to eyewitnesses, Saipov shouted “Allahu Akbar” upon exiting a Home Depot rental truck after intentionally driving the wrong way on a busy bike lane near the World Trade Center, killing eight pedestrians and injuring a dozen more.
Over the weekend, militants from the Islamist terror group Al-Shabaab killed at least 23 people and injured dozens more in a series of coordinated suicide bombings and gun battles in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. The attacks came just two weeks after a massive truck bombing in a busy marketplace in Mogadishu killed 350 people, in the worst terror attack in Somalia’s modern history.
Also over the weekend, Taliban jihadists stormed police checkpoints in three provinces of Afghanistan, killing 28 policemen as well as 10 other people. The Islamist militants have assailed a number of police stations, army bases and government facilities in recent weeks, killing more than 150 between police and civilians. Taliban insurgents killed 58 soldiers in one attack on an army base in Kandahar, the single deadliest attack in 2017.
The Pope’s Angelus prayer Wednesday commemorated the Catholic celebration of the feast of All Saints, which falls on November 1 and remembers all those who have died and are believed to now be in heaven.
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