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Pope condemns attack on Italian police in Iraq

Pope John Paul II has voiced his sorrow at the "vile attack" on an Italian police base in southern Iraq which reportedly left 14 Italians dead.

"I have learnt with deep sorrow the news of this vile attack in Nasiriyah in Iraq where Italian Carabinieri and soldiers lost their lives while carrying out their selfless mission of peace," the Pope wrote in a message to Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

"I voice the strongest condemnation of this new act of violence which adds to the others committed in this tormented country, and which do not help to bring peace and reconstruction," he added.

The Ansa news agency said 14 Italians had been killed when a truck bomb gutted the building housing the paramilitary Carabinieri force in Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano carried a front-page story on the "cruel attack in Nasiriya," and condemned "the inhuman logic that massacres life."

Chaldean Catholic Bishop Djibrail Kassab of Basra told L'Osservatore that he was "profoundly saddened" by the attack on the Italian post.

"The Iraqi people appreciate their work and respect them," he said. And Chaldean Archbishop Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad told Vatican Radio that the bombing was "against the good of the Iraqi people."

Pope, Berlusconi condemn attack (Sydney Morning Herald)
Papal condolences for Italian victims of Iraqi terror bombing (Catholic World News)

Bomb Hits Italian Base in Iraq in Worst Attack on Coalition (Bloomberg)

Papal audience on Psalm 141, deathbed prayer of St. Francis (Catholic World News)
Italy and Poland to play for Pope (BBC)

13 Nov 2003