Pope Francis offers prayers for victims of Afghanistan quake

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Pope Francis offered prayers Wednesday for the victims of a deadly earthquake in Afghanistan that the country’s supreme leader said had killed at least 300 people and injured hundreds more.

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“I express my closeness with the injured and those who were affected by the earthquake,” the 85-year-old pontiff said at the end of his weekly audience at the Vatican.

“And I pray in particular for those who have lost their lives and their families,” the head of the global Catholic Church said.

“I hope that with everyone’s help, the suffering of the dear Afghan people can be alleviated.”

The Argentine pontiff also expressed his “sorrow and dismay” for the murder this week of two “Jesuit brothers” and a layman at their church in Mexico.

The two priests and a man seeking sanctuary at their church in Chihuahua state were shot dead on Monday, the government and the religious order said on Tuesday.

“So many killings in Mexico,” said Francis, himself a Jesuit, offering “affection and prayer to the Catholic community affected by this tragedy.”

“Once again I repeat that violence does not resolve problems, but increases unnecessary suffering,” he concluded.

Read more: Eastern Afghanistan earthquake kills at least 950 people

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