Pope Francis on Sunday called a deadly attack on a synagogue in the United States “an inhuman act of violence”, while reaffirming his “closeness to the Jewish community”.
A middle aged American man burst into the synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday during a baby-naming ceremony and gunned down 11 people.
The suspect, Robert Bowers, 46, has been charged with murder, in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in recent US history.
“We are all, in truth, wounded by this inhuman act of violence,” Francis said at the end of the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square.
“May the Lord help us put out the flames of hate that develop in our societies, strengthening the sense of humanity, respect for life, moral and civil values and holy fear of God”.
Bowers reportedly yelled “All Jews must die” as he sprayed bullets into the Tree of Life synagogue during Sabbath services before exchanging fire with police, in an attack that also wounded six people.
Saturday’s attack comes at a time of heightened tensions — a day after a supporter of President Donald Trump was arrested for mailing explosive devices to Democrats and liberals, setting the country on edge ahead of close-fought midterm elections.