VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis mourned “senseless acts of violence” against innocent life after the New Zealand mosque attacks. On Friday, at least 49 people were killed in attacks on two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
The Pope assured all New Zealanders, in particular the Muslim community, of “his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks” in a telegram sent on his behalf by the Vatican secretary of state March 15.
New Zealand officials say that one man in his late 20s has been charged with murder, and two other armed suspects have been taken into police custody. The attacks centered on the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday afternoon.
One of the attackers broadcast the murders live on Facebook. The police also found two explosive devices attached to his vehicle.
The attack took place during Friday prayer at the mosques. At least 48 people were injured in addition to the 49 confirmed dead.
“Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of comfort and strength upon the nation,” it stated.
Pope Francis said he will continue to pray for “the healing of the injured, the consolation of those who grieve the loss of their loved ones, and for all affected by this tragedy.”
The attacks have prompted an outpouring of condolences and solidarity across the international community.
On Friday morning, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the attacks during a press briefing in Washington.
“I offer my personal condolences to the nation of New Zealand in the wake of the grotesque mosques attacks in Christchurch,” Pompeo said.
“The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the victims and their families today. The United States condemns this hateful assault, and we pledge our unwavering solidarity with the government and people of New Zealand in this hour of darkness.”