Two masked assailants attack Roman Catholic church in Istanbul

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The couple entered St. Mary’s Church in the Sariyer neighborhood while Sunday services were taking place.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Two masked attackers attacked a Roman Catholic church in Istanbul during Sunday services, killing one person, Turkish officials announced.

According to a statement posted on X – formerly Twitter – by Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, armed attackers attacked St. Mary’s Church in Sariyer district at 11.40am local time. He did not specify what type of weapons were used or whether anyone else was injured.

Yerlikaya also condemned the attack and said authorities were working to capture the attackers and confirmed that an investigation had been opened.

Speaking to reporters, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu expressed his condolences and support for the city’s religious minorities, which like Turkey as a whole is primarily Muslim.

“There are no minorities in this city or in this country. We are all true citizens,” she said.

Pope Francis, addressing the public in St. Peter’s Square last Sunday, recalled the attack.

“I express my closeness to the community (of the church) of Istanbul, which suffered an armed attack during mass with one dead and some injured,” the pontiff said.

The church is run by an Italian order of Franciscan friars. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said his ministry was following the situation together with the Italian embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul.

“I express my condolences and firm condemnation for the cowardly attack on the church of Santa Maria,” Tajani wrote on X.

“I am sure that the Turkish authorities will arrest those responsible,” he added.

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