21 August 2016, The Tablet

Turkey wedding attack: Pope Francis prays for victims of child suicide bomber

A suspected child suicide bomber detonated explosives at a wedding in the city of Gaziantep

Pope Francis today offered prayers for the victims of Saturday’s bombing in Southern Turkey in which at least 50 people died.

A suspected child suicide bomber detonated explosives at a wedding in the city of Gaziantep, killing 50 and injuring more than 60 people.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I have heard of the sad news of the bloody attack yesterday which struck the beloved Turkey,” the Pope said on Sunday, after leading pilgrims in praying the traditional Angelus prayer.

“Let us pray for the victims, for the dead and the injured, and we ask for the gift of peace for all,” he continued, asking pilgrims present in St Peter’s Square to join in praying a Hail Mary.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said so-called Islamic State (IS) was likely to have carried out the attack on the Kurdish wedding party. Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, is known to have several IS cells.

Gaziantep is a major city roughly 37 miles from the Syrian border, and has become a hub for Syrians fleeing the civil war that’s tearing their country apart.

According to Turkey’s Dogan news agency, the bride and groom had moved to Gaziantep from the Kurdish town of Siirt further east to escape fighting between Kurdish rebels and security forces.

"The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion among people dancing," eyewitness, Veli Can, 25, told journalists. "There was blood and body parts everywhere", he said.

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