Pope prays for Barcelona victims. Asian nations express their condolences
Papal telegram is sent to the archbishop of Barcelona. Victims come from 20 countries, including some in Asia: China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Putin and Xi Jinping call for greater unity and coordination to fight terrorism. Arab countries express their closeness.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims of the Barcelona attack and expressed his closeness to all the Spaniards affected by yesterday afternoon’s violent terrorist attack. The latter was claimed by the Islamic State group. Overnight, another attack was foiled in Cambrils (Tarragona).
In a telegram sent today to Card Juan José Omella y Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, signed by Card Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the Holy Father expressed "his deepest condolence to the victims who lost their lives in such an inhuman action and offers prayers for their eternal rest. In this moment of sadness and pain, he wishes to send his support and closeness to the many wounded, to their families and to entire Catalan and Spanish society."
"The Holy Father once again condemns blind violence, which is a grave offense against the Creator and raises his prayers to the Most High that he may help us to continue working with determination for peace and harmony in the world.” With these wishes, His Holiness imparted his Apostolic Blessing “on all the victims, their families and the dear Spanish people".
Like in Nice, Paris, London, Berlin, Stockholm, and other European cities with an international and tourist vocation, in Barcelona too, the victims and wounded come from different countries, 20 according to the Catalan government. The list by Spain’s Civil Protection agency includes France, Germany, Italy, Venezuela, Australia, Ireland, Peru, Algeria, Belgium, Pakistan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan ...
Spain has decreed three days of national mourning, and this morning, thousands of people gathered in Barcelona in the presence of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Philip IV to remember the dead and bear witness to their decision to fight terrorism and defeat fear.
Meanwhile, expressions of condolence and sharing have poured in from around the world. In addition to the messages of Western leaders, and the mayors of London and Paris, cities that have also been affected by terrorism, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote to the Spanish king calling on the world to unite in an “uncompromising battle against the forces of terror”. “We decisively condemn this cruel and cynical crime against civilians”.
In a message to King Philip IV, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he is shocked to learn of the high number of casualties. On behalf of the people of China and in his own name, Xi said he mourned the dead. "China,” he added, “is firmly opposed to all forms of terrorism and stands ready to work with the international community, including Spain, to strengthen anti-terror cooperation so as to jointly safeguard regional and world peace and stability".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “Israel firmly condemns the terrorist attack in Barcelona,” noting that “This evening we have seen once again that terrorism strikes everywhere. The civilised world must unite to defeat it.”
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey strongly condemned the “heinous terrorist attack”.
The United Arab Emirates condemned the attack, reiterating its rejection of any form of violence and terrorism that strikes at anyone regardless of race or religion.
Expressions of closeness to the Spanish people also came from Bahrain, which extended its condolences to all affected families, wishing a speedy recovery for the wounded.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed solidarity to the Spanish government and people against terrorism, stressing that such attacks will not bend the will of governments and peoples to fight terrorism.
Lastly, UN Secretary-General António Guterres added his voice of condemnation, extending his condolences to the families of those killed.
His spokesman, Farhan Haq, said in a statement that the secretary-general “wishes a speedy recovery to those injured and hopes that those responsible for this heinous violence will be swiftly brought to justice.”
The statement went on to stay that “The United Nations stands in solidarity with the Government of Spain in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism”.