Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the two recent terror attacks in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Baghdad, Iraq, and called for the conversion of terrorists, Vatican Radio reports.
The Dhaka attack on a popular restaurant in the diplomatic district of the capital claimed at least 20 lives – many of them foreigners – while the attack in Baghdad's central – and very commercial – Karrada district claimed at least 83 lives, while a second attack on a predominantly Shia neighbourhood of the capital around midnight killed five more people.
"I offer my closeness to the families of all the people killed and wounded in the attack that took place [early Saturday morning] in Dhaka, and in that, which took place [Saturday] in Baghdad," said Pope Francis. "Let us pray together," he continued, "let us pray together for them – for all the dead – and let us ask the Lord to convert the hearts of all those blinded by hatred."
Francis was addressing the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer. Immediately following his remarks, he led everyone present in reciting the Hail Mary.
Bangladeshi Bishop Gervas Rosario also condemned the Dhaka attack.
"No sane person and no religion can tolerate such a horrendous massacre. Good Muslims now need to take strong stance to save Islam from the grip of terrorism," said Bishop Gervas Rozario, chairman of the Catholic bishops' Justice and Peace Commission.