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Pope ‘Shocked’ By Retirement Home Attack

Pope Francis arrives for a weekly general audience at St Peter's square on March 2, 2016 at the Vatican. / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO

Pope Francis arrives for a weekly general audience at St Peter’s square on March 2, 2016 at the Vatican. / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO

Pope Francis has expressed his sympathy with the victims of a “diabolical” an attack on an elderly care home in Yemen in which at least 16 people, including four nuns, were killed, the Vatican said.

Gunmen on Friday attacked a Catholic retirement home in Yemen’s port city of Aden that was established by a charity established by Mother Teresa.

According to one official, who spoke to Aljazeerah, the assailants entered the premises in Aden’s Sheikh Othman district after telling the guard they were visiting their mother, before storming the building, tying up employees and opening fire.

“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 yesterday.

“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.

Those killed included four Catholic nuns from India, four local nurses, four security guards, and cleaning staff, medical sources told Al Jazeera.

“They forced the men and women outside with their hands tied. We heard the sound of gunfire, and when we came out we saw them all dead in the garden,” resident Um Mohammed said.

Screams of elderly residents echoed from the home during the shooting rampage, witnesses told the AFP news agency, adding they saw bodies of dead workers with their arms tied behind their backs scattered on the floor.

The motive of the gunmen, who fled after the attack, was not immediately known. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Aden was once a cosmopolitan city home to thriving Hindu and Christian communities, but its small Christian population left long ago.



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