A person has died after gunmen opened fireplace at an Italian church in Istanbul throughout Sunday Mass in an obvious assassination try that was shortly condemned by Pope Francis.

The assault occurred round 11:40 a.m. (0840 GMT) at St. Mary's Church in Istanbul's Sariyer district on the European aspect and was carried out by two masked males, Inside Minister Ali Yerlikaya stated. on social media.

Turkish officers stated the assault seemed to be a focused assault in opposition to a person relatively than in opposition to the Catholic church.

The minister stated that a person recognized solely as CT – who was amongst these attending Sunday's service – was the goal of the gun assault and misplaced his life.

An investigation had been launched to seek out the attackers, Yerlikaya added, who fled the scene after the taking pictures.

Native officers stated about 40 folks attended the mass.

Tv photographs confirmed police and an ambulance exterior the ornate Nineteenth-century church.

“We strongly condemn this vile assault,” Yerlikaya stated.

Safety footage earlier than the assault confirmed a pair of males carrying black snow masks with their palms of their pockets and one was seen carrying black sun shades.

Francis expressed his assist for the Catholic Church after the assault.

“I categorical my closeness to the neighborhood of the church of Santa Maria” in Istanbul, the Argentine pope stated on the finish of his weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Sq. within the Vatican.

“Condemnation stands”

Italian Overseas Minister Antonio Tajani additionally expressed his “condolences and agency condemnation” for the assault, and supported the Turkish authorities to find the killers.

The incident comes greater than per week after Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

Turkey's AKP celebration spokesman Omer Celik stated the attackers focused a citizen through the mass.

“Our safety forces are conducting a full-scale investigation into the matter,” he stated.

“Those that threaten the peace and safety of our residents won’t ever obtain their objectives.”

Istanbul Governor Davut Gul informed reporters on the scene that there have been no accidents.

The motive for the assault was not instantly clear.

In December final yr, Turkish safety forces arrested 32 suspects for alleged hyperlinks to Islamic State jihadists planning assaults on church buildings and synagogues, in addition to the Iraqi embassy.

IS extremists have carried out a sequence of assaults on Turkish soil, together with in opposition to a nightclub in Istanbul in 2017 that left 39 useless.


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