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Pope condemns terrorism in Iraq, Turkey

Pope John Paul II condemned what he called terrorist attacks in Iraq, Turkey and the Holy Land, and also criticised Israel for building a wall between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

In comments during the weekly Angelus appearance in St Peter's Square yesterday, the Holy Father said the security wall being built in Israel has been viewed by many as a new obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

"In reality, the Holy Land doesn't need walls, but bridges," he told the crowd of tourists and the faithful from his studio window.

Last week, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray had said the wall "inevitably creates a geography of apartheid, which provokes rather than controls violence".

The Pope called for leaders on both sides of the conflict to "have the courage to restart dialogue and negotiations, thus freeing the path toward a Middle East reconciled in justice and peace."

Israel says it is building the barrier, in some areas deep in the West Bank, to keep out Palestinian militants. The Palestinians fear an Israeli land grab.

John Paul condemned recent terrorist acts committed in the region, as well as in Iraq and Turkey this week.

"Once again, in these recent days, terrorism has committed its evil work, particularly in Iraq and Turkey," John Paul said.

He said he was praying for the families of the victims, as well as those caring for the injured, and called for the respect of life to prevail over violence and hatred.

Pope condemns terrorism in Iraq, Turkey (Sydney Morning Herald 17/11/03)

Vatican cardinal condemns Israel security wall (14/11/03)
Pope denounces terrorism in all its forms (12/11/03)
Pope tells Egyptian bishops that religions must fight terror (2/9/03)

17 Nov 2003