Pope sends condolences to victims of Baghdad bombing

 Pope John Paul II sent a telegram of condolence yesterday for the victims of the blast that devastated the UN headquarters in Baghdad. In his message, issued through Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Angelo Sodano to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Pope expressed "profound grief" over the news and sent his condolences to all those working for the UN and the families and friends of the victims. The Pope said he was praying for the victims and asking God to bring comfort to their families. He also "implored all those involved in acts of violence to abandon the paths of hatred", to enable "the spirit of reconciliation to prevail so that Iraq could see a new era of peace, justice and social harmony". By last night, the death toll in the truck bomb attack had reached 15, and more than 40 people were injured. Among the dead was Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN special envoy in Iraq who survived for several hours trapped under the rubble of the destroyed building. Source: MISNA

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