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Pope shocked at massacre of Christians

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HB ROM. Pope Benedict XVI. is appalled by the massacre of Christians in Baghdad and demanded greater international efforts to counter any violence in the Middle East. Benedict said on Monday in Rome by absurd and cruel violence against defenseless people "who were gathered in a house of God, which is a house of love and reconciliation." He responded to the kidnapping of 50 Christians killed and many injured in a church in Baghdad.

Benedict lamented the new incidents abominable violence that plagued the population in the region even further. He prayed for the victims of the attack and was again affected the Christian community there close. "I encourage the pastors and faithful, to be strong and unwavering in their hope," he said. Benedict reiterated his call for Middle East peace already repeated.

The hostage drama in a Baghdad church 52 hostages and policemen were killed in the assault on Sunday, 67 more were injured, said the Iraqi Interior Ministry on Monday.

Information on deaths and injuries was among the hostage-takers, the Ministry does not at first. According to earlier statements were reportedly killed up to seven of them. First, the authorities were out of only up to ten killed hostages.

Islamic extremists with ties to Al Qaeda organization had taken more than 100 Iraqi Catholics in the Church as hostages. They demanded the release of Al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq and Egypt.