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Vatican condemns knife attack at French church: 'Terrorism and violence can never be accepted'

Vatican condemns knife attack at French church: 'Terrorism and violence can never be accepted'
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The Vatican condemned Thursday's stabbing at a church in France that left three people dead in a suspected terrorist attack.

“Terrorism and violence can never be accepted," The Vatican said in a statement after the stabbing at a Catholic basilica in Nice, adding that Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis swipes at groups protesting COVID-19 restrictions in NYT op-ed China dismisses pope's comments about 'persecuted' Uighurs Pope Francis supports NBA players' work to promote social justice MORE is praying for the victims and their families.

“He prays for the victims and their loved ones, so that the violence may cease, so that we may return to look upon ourselves as brothers and sisters and not as enemies, so that the beloved people of France, united, may respond to evil with good,” Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement.

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"It is a moment of pain, in a time of confusion,” Bruni added. “Today's attack has sown death in a place of love and consolation, like the house of the Lord.”

Bishop André Marceau of Nice also released a statement, saying, “All my prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones, the police on the front line of this tragedy, priests and the faithful who have been wounded in their faith and hope.”

The attacker killed three people at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice before being taken into custody after a confrontation with police. The violence occurred less than a mile from where the 2016 truck attack occurred that left dozens of people dead.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the suspect yelled “‘Allah Akbar!’ over and over even after he was injured.”

“The meaning of his gesture left no doubt,” the mayor said, according to The Associated Press.

The attack is the third one that officials have attributed to Muslim extremists since the trial began for those connected to the 2015 attacks at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

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It also comes as tensions between France and Turkey are increasing, after Turkish officials condemned Charlie Hebdo for depicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a cartoon that they said feeds “the seeds of hatred and animosity.”

Earlier this month a French school teacher was beheaded after showing his students cartoon images of the Prophet Muhammed published in Charlie Hebdo in 2015.

Erdoğan also slammed French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronTrump addresses virtual G-20 summit, heads out before session on pandemic G-20 leaders stress importance of united response to coronavirus pandemic Czech president says Trump should quit after election loss and 'not be embarrassing' MORE for his stance on the teacher who the French president called a “quiet hero” for backing free speech. Anti-France protests have erupted in Turkey and other majority Muslim countries.