Yemen attack: Pope shocked by ‘diabolical’ violence on care home

"He sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence," Cardinal Parolin said in a statement.

By: AFP | Vatican City | Published: March 5, 2016 4:12 pm
Yemen attack, Yemen care home attack, Yemen nuns killed, Yemen terrorist attack, Yemen missionaries of charity Yemeni security forces gather outside an elderly care home after it was attacked by gunmen in the port city of Aden, Yemen, Friday, March 4, 2016. Unidentified gunmen stormed a retirement home run by Catholic nuns in the southern city of Aden on Friday shooting more than a dozen people to death, including several Indian nuns, Yemeni security officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

Pope Francis has slammed as”diabolical” an attack on an elderly care home in Yemen which killed at least 16 people, including four nuns, the Vatican said on Saturday. “His Holiness Pope Francis was shocked and profoundly saddened to learn of the killing of four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others at a home for the elderly in Aden,” the Vatican’s Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said.

“He sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence,” Cardinal Parolin said in a statement. Four gunmen stormed the facility housing dozens in Aden’s Sheikh Othman district yesterday, killing a guard before tying up and shooting employees, security officials told AFP.

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Screams of elderly residents echoed from the home during the shooting rampage, witnesses said. Among the dead were four Indian nurses, while the rest of those killed were Yemenis. The Argentine pontiff “prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms and take up the path of dialogue,” Parolin said.

“He calls upon all parties in the present conflict to renounce violence, and to renew their commitment to the people of Yemen, particularly those most in need, whom the sisters and their helpers sought to serve,” he added.

No group claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack, the first of its kind in Yemen, where the internationally-recognised government is grappling with an Iran-backed rebellion on one side and a growing jihadist presence on the other.

One official said the attackers were “extremists” and blamed the Islamic State group, which has been gaining ground in Aden in recent months. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council backing the Yemeni government “strongly” condemned the attack which it said “reveals the goals of forces which are against the return of security and stability to Yemen”.

President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has declared Aden Yemen’s temporary capital as Sanaa remains in the hands of the Huthi rebels and their allies since they seized it in September 2014.

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  1. R
    Mar 6, 2016 at 9:46 am
    Even wild animals will shame these evil terror. All world should be united against this terror and their evil teaching and dogma. The Bible doesn’t directly address the topic of terrorism, at least not the type of terrorism we think of in the modern world. True “terrorism” is an attempt to incite fear, shock, and panic in a target potion through the use of violence. The goal of acts of terrorism is to bully a government or culture into cooperating with the demands of the terrorists. In some cases, the carnage is inflicted for its own sake or as a punishment or an act of revenge. Many of the weapons used in modern terror attacks did not exist in biblical times, such as explosives, chemical weapons, and firearms. News of an attack would travel slowly in ancient times and only by oral or written descriptions. The ability to inflict sudden, catastrophic damage combined with the rapid spread of news—especially in graphic pictures and videos—has made terrorism as we know it today possible. These capabilities did not exist in biblical times, and so neither did modern-style terrorism. However, Old Testament statements about Israel’s responsibilities during war, scriptural comments about those who target the innocent, and the general sense of Christian morality all speak against what we would today define as “terrorism.” Ancient armies were far more likely to deliberately target innocents; in fact, the idea of avoiding women and children during war was all but unheard of in the ancient Near East. However, Israel was given explicit instructions for warfare that greatly humanized their military operations. Soldiers were given the option to return home if they were newly married, afraid, or otherwise unready for warfare. They were not encouraged to suicidally throw themselves into battle (Deuteronomy 20:5–8). Israel was commanded to offer peace—and with it a warning—to a city prior to any attack (Deuteronomy 20:10). This procedure not only left room for peace, but it gave non-combatants an opportunity to flee prior to the battle. Israel was not encouraged to go out of their way to attack civilians instead of soldiers, as modern terrorism does. And the Israelites were frequently reminded that their limited, one-time-only orders to attack were based on the wickedness of their enemy, not their own superiority (Deuteronomy 9:4–6). The Bible also expresses a strong condemnation for the shedding of innocent blood. Over and over, the Scriptures lambaste those who use violence against the helpless and inoffensive (Deuteronomy 27:25;Proverbs 6:16–18). Those who use common terrorist tactics such as attacking non-combatants and trying to inspire terror are also rebuked (Jeremiah 7:6; 19:4; 22:3, 17). Even on a small scale, using ambush tactics in order to kill those one hates is treated as murder (Deuteronomy 19:11). This theme is continued in the New Testament, where Christians are explicitly told not to use bloodshed in an attempt to defend Christ (Matthew 10:52). Attempts to violently overthrow or influence the government are also off-limits (Romans 13:1). Rather, Christians are to overcome evil through good (Romans 12:21). All in all, terrorism is simply incompatible with a biblical worldview. Opposition to terrorism is expressed both in the Old and New Testaments. The principles apply both to nations and to individual people. The Bible does not explicitly address the 21st-century concept of terrorism, but it clearly condemns everything about it.
    1. N
      Mar 5, 2016 at 2:33 pm
      'He is not one of us who misbehaves with the elderly' - Prophet Muhammad ( may Allah send His blessings upon him). What his opinion would be regarding those who attack and kill elderly ! Really politics has gone so low.