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Pope expresses solidarity with Algerian earthquake victims

Pope John Paul II has prayed for the more than 770 killed and 4700 injured in Wednesday's earthquake in Algeria, and sent a message through Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

"In the face of the terrible earthquake which just struck the region of Argel, the Pope asks God Almighty to accept in his mercy all those who perished in this tragedy," Sodano said in a telegram to Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, apostolic nuncio in Algeria.

"He prays also for those who have been injured, as well as for the labour of the rescue team and for all the families affected by this drama, hoping that they find the consolation that they need and especially solidarity.

"The Holy Father offers his most sincere condolences to the Head of State, the government and to the family members of the victims, and he assures the Algerian people of his closeness in this new trial."

Vatican Information Service

Algeria quake toll climbs (BBC)

23 May 2003