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Pope Francis condemns terrorist attack against Pakistani Christians

He called it "cowardly and senseless crime."

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Vatican City (EFE) — Pope Francis condemned on Monday the "cowardly and senseless crime" in the Pakistani city of Lahore and asked for prayers "so that he stops the hands of the violent, who spread terror and death; and makes it possible for love, justice and reconciliation."

From the window of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter's Square, surrounded by heavy security, Francis recalled the "reprehensible" attack that "bloodied" Easter on Sunday and caused more than 70 deaths, mostly women and children and mainly from families of the Christian minority, who were in a park to celebrate Easter.

"I wish to express my closeness to all those affected by this cowardly and senseless crime, and ask you to pray to the Lord for the numerous victims and their loved ones," the pontiff said. The religious leader then made an appeal to civil authorities and all members of Pakistani society "to do everything possible to restore security and peace to the population and in particular to the most vulnerable religious minorities."

"I repeat once again, that violence and murderous hatred lead only to pain and destruction; respect and fraternity are the only way to achieve peace," added the Holy Father. After learning of the attack, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi noted that Christian minorities have again been hit by fanatical violence.

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