VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis condemned on Wednesday recent deadly attacks in Somalia, Afghanistan and New York, saying militants were abusing the name of God to justify their violence.
“I am profoundly saddened by the terrorist attacks in these recent days in Somalia, Afghanistan and yesterday in New York,” the pope said in an address to mark All Saints Day, adding that he was praying for the victims and their families.
“We ask God to convert the hearts of terrorists and free the world of hatred and of mad murder that abuses the name of God to disseminate death,” he said to Roman Catholic faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
A man driving a truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists in New York on Tuesday, killing eight people. CNN and other U.S. media said the attacker had left a note claiming allegiance to Islamic State and that he had shouted “Allahu Akbar” - Arabic for “God is greatest” - when he jumped out of his truck.
Also on Tuesday, as many as eight people were killed by a suicide bomber in the Afghan capital, Kabul. It was the latest of a string of attacks in Afghanistan last month, including one on a Shi‘ite mosque that killed more than 50 people.
On Sunday, at least 29 people died in an Islamist attack on a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The assault came two weeks after two bombings in the city killed more than 350 people.
Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned Islamist militants in recent years, saying followers of religions who carry out acts of fundamentalism or terrorism are profaning God’s name.
Reporting by Crispian Balmer, editing by Larry King and Emelia Sithole-Matarise