Vatican City, Jul 2, 2016 / 08:50 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has again voiced his sorrow for another “barbarous” terrorist attack, offering his prayers for the families and victims of a July 1 a siege on a restaurant in Bangladesh left 20 people dead.
“Deeply saddened by the senseless violence perpetrated against innocent victims in Dhaka, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt condolences and condemns such barbarous acts as offences against God and humanity,” a July 2 letter signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Pope read. The Vatican Secretary of State said that in commending the dead to God’s mercy, “His Holiness gives the assurance of his prayers for the grieving families and the wounded.”
The letter came the day after eight gunmen stormed the Hotel Artisan Bakery café in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, shooting and setting off explosives, according to the BBC. The attack took place just as Muslims in the midst of the month of Ramadan were about to break their fast at sundown. Media reports state that witnesses heard the attackers shouting “Allahu akbar,” meaning “God is great.”
At least 20 hostages were killed, most of them foreigners, and two police officers. Six of the attackers were shot by police and one arrested, while another remains missing. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, however, authorities believe other parties could also be involved.
The attack in Bangladesh took place just days after 41 people were killed in a June 29 terrorist attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Three men, dressed in black, drove into the entrance of the airport’s international terminal and opened fire, blowing themselves up only after police began to fire back. Although ISIS has not yet claimed responsibility, many are attributing it to them given the style and manner of how the attack was carried out.
Pope Francis, after hearing of the Istanbul tragedy, called it a “heinous terror attack,” and prayed for the conversion of those who choose violence, asking that the Lord would “convert the hearts of the violent and sustain our steps on the path to peace.”