Pope Francis offers prayers for victims of latest Turkey suicide bombing

(Photo: REUTERS / Tony Gentile)Pope Francis listens to Rahmi Yaran, Mufti of Istanbul (R) during a visit to Sultan Ahmet mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul November 29, 2014. Pope Francis began his visit to Turkey with the delicate mission of strengthening ties with Muslim leaders while condemning violence against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.

Turkey has faced sporadic bombings and has survived a coup attempt this year so it is hardly surprising Pope Francis has offered prayers for the victims of the latest suicide bombing in the country.

A total of 54 people were killed in the blast and a further 69 people were injured, including women and children, as they danced in the street at a Kurdish wedding party in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said it was likely that the terrorist group calling itself ISIS or Daesh was behind the attack and claimed it was carried out by a child aged between 12 and 14 in the mainly Muslim nation.

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later said authorities did not know if the suicide bomber who attacked a Kurdish wedding killing the 54 people was a child, the BBC reported.

After reciting the Angelus prayer in St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis said "sad news" had reached him about the "the bloody attack" carried out in "dear Turkey," Vatican Radio reported.

"Let us pray for the victims, for the dead and the injured, and we ask for the gift of peace for all," said Francis.

The Pope also led the crowd in the square in praying the Hail Mary for the victims of the suicide bombing, The Catholic Herald reported.

Pope Francis had also told pilgrims gathered in the Vatican that "life is not a video game or a soap opera."

The "narrow gate" to salvation described by Jesus isn't narrow because God is oppressive, but because pride bloats Christians and prevents them from entering God's merciful embrace, Francis said.

Christians "must seize the opportunities of salvation" and not waste time on trivial things before the gate is closed, the Pope told the faithful.

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