Pope Francis offered his condolences to those affected by the “senseless and brutal” attack against a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, which left dozens dead and over a hundred injured.
The Pope was “deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life” from Monday’s attack, according to the telegram which was signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
In the message, the pontiff sent his “heartfelt condolences to the relatives of the deceased, to the authorities and to the entire nation as he offers the assurance of his prayers for the many injured victims of this senseless and brutal act of violence.”
“Upon all who mourn and upon all who have been affected by this tragedy, His Holiness invokes the divine gifts of consolation and strength.”
At least 70 people were killed and around 120 people were wounded when a suicide bomber struck the hospital in Pakistan’s south-west, the BBC reports.
Pope Francis prays with journalists on the papal flight (Alan Holdren/CNA).
Included among the casualties were lawyers and journalists who were accompanying the remains of Bilal Anwar Kasi, a lawyer who had been shot dead earlier that day.
Both a Pakistan faction of the Taliban – known as Jamaat-ur-Ahrar – and the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the bombing, according to Reuters.
The Jamaat-ur-Ahrar is the same group responsible for a deadly attack earlier this year in which around 70 people – mostly children – were slaughtered during Easter Sunday celebrations.