By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis expressed his condolences after a suicide bombing in a busy market in Baghdad claimed the lives of dozens of people.
In a telegram sent July 21 to Archbishop Mitja Leskovar, papal nuncio to Iraq, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope was “deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life in the explosion at the al-Wuhailat market.”
The pope “sends condolences to the families and friends of those who have died,” Cardinal Parolin said.
“Entrusting their souls to the mercy of almighty God, His Holiness renews his fervent prayers that no act of violence will diminish the efforts of those who strive to promote reconciliation and peace in Iraq,” he said.
According to the news network Al-Jazeera, an estimated 35 people died and dozens more were wounded after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive July 19 in the crowded market on the eve of the Eid al-Adha festival.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a message posted to the group’s Telegram channel, Al-Jazeera reported.
In a tweet posted July 19 commemorating Eid al-Adha, Iraqi President Barham Salih said the holiday festivities were mingled with “grief over the martyrs we have lost in recent unfortunate events.”
“We ask God that the difficulties end and that the days pass by in peace and prosperity for Iraq and the Iraqis,” Salih tweeted.