Pope Francis Condemns “Despicable Attack in Moscow”

Pontiff prays for victims of terrorist attack in Russian capital

Papa Francesco sull'attacco terroristico a Mosca

This year’s Palm Sunday celebrations have been affected by terrible events and news, the latest being the terrorist attack in Moscow that killed 133 people, including three children, and left 152 others injured. The armed conflicts continue between Russia and Ukraine, in the Middle East, in Syria; the attacks by the Houthis and raids by US-led allied forces on the territory of Yemen are intensifying by the day. For the Vatican, the attack in Moscow, for which the jihadist group ISIS claimed responsibility, represents a sign that the most ferocious Islamic extremism continues to plan more bloody attacks.

On Sunday, March 24, the Amaq news agency, close to ISIS, published new videos of the attack on the Crocus City Concert Hall in Moscow. Footage shows the gunmen filmed chasing onlookers through the atrium, shooting them at point-blank range, and even slitting the throat of a man already lying on the ground, then killing dozens of people. As the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano wrote, “the long shadow of terrorism is falling over Moscow and plunging it into a nightmare, the worst in the last twenty years.”

At the end of Palm Sunday celebrations in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis, sitting in his seat and visibly tired, said he was praying for the victims of the “despicable terrorist attack” in Moscow. Thus, Francis expressed compassion for what happened in Russia two days ago. The Pontiff asked God to welcome the victims, comfort their families, and turn “the hearts of those who plan, organize, and carry out these inhumane acts that offend God who commanded, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”