By Vatican News
The telegram was sent in the name of the Pope by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Archbishop Luc Ravel of Strasbourg.
“It is with sadness and concern that His Holiness Pope Francis learned of the attack that took place last night at the Christmas market in Strasbourg”, reads the text of the message. “Pope Francis again expresses his firm condemnation of such acts.”
Prayers for those affected
The message continues with the Pope assuring all those affected by this attack, the families especially, of his prayer and compassion. “As a pledge of consolation”, reads the telegram, the Holy Father “implores the abundance of divine blessings on the victims, on those who assist them and on all the French people”.
“While entrusting the dead to the mercy of God”, says the message, “the Holy Father has a special thought for the professionals and the volunteers who take care of the wounded”.
Meanwhile, more than 700 police officers and other members of the French security forces continue to search for the gunman. They have issued an urgent appeal to anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of their chief suspect, 29 year-old Chérif Chekatt, to come forward.
Strasbourg is the official seat of the European Parliament and has been the scene of terrorist attacks in the past.