Pope Francis expressed sadness, during his Sunday mass at the Vatican, at the deadly attack on an elderly home in Aden, Yemen, on Friday, describing it as an “act of senseless and diabolical violence.”
The attack left 16 people dead, including four nuns.
The elderly home was established by Mother Teresa and is run by Catholic missionaries.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the pope “was shocked and profoundly saddened” by the killings and “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.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and Ansar Al-Sharia, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, mentioned by some reports as responsible of the act, distanced itself from it in a rare statement denying any connection or relation to the operation that targeted the elders house. “This is not our operation and it’s not our way of fight,” the group said.
Extremist groups calling for strict adherence to Islam and the sharia are known for glorifying killings and boastfully claiming responsibility.
Yemen’s turmoil is slowly dragging the country into general insecurity as Aden, declared liberated by the Hadi-led government backed by the Saudi-led coalition, continues to be marred by several high profile attacks and mass killings.