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Pope offers comfort to friends, families of Nice attack victims

Among the some 1,000 people who attended the ceremony were members of Nice's Jewish community and a local Muslim imam. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Vatican City Sep 24, 2016, 12.51 PM (IST)
Pope Francis today sought to comfort close friends and families of victims of the July truck attack in Nice that left more than 80 dead.
 
He began his address by urging those who were "attacked by the demon" to respond with "forgiveness, love and respect for your neighbour" rather than giving in to the temptation to react with hate and violence.

Among some 1,000 people who attended the ceremony, were members of Nice's Jewish community and a local Muslim imam.

"It makes me happy to see that inter-religious relations are very vibrant among you, and this cannot but soothe the wounds left by this dramatic event," Francis said.

On the evening of July 14, a 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating France’s national day.

The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack that injured more than 400.

Less than two weeks later, on July 26, two IS militants attacked participants in a Mass at a Catholic church in northern France and killed an elderly priest, Father Jacques Hamel.

Following the attack, the pope declared “the world is at war”.

But the pope also insisted the war was not a religious one, and that it was wrong to "identify Islam with violence", suggesting instead that the lack of economic opportunities for young people in Europe was one of the causes of terrorism.

After speaking briefly, the pope descended from the pulpit and spent more than 45 minutes meeting those who attended the ceremony.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)
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