Monday 5 December 2016

Pope Francis meets relatives of Nice lorry attack victims

Published 24/09/2016 | 16:04

Pope Francis embraces a child during a special audience with relatives and close friends of the more than 80 victims of the attack in Nice in Paul VI hall at the Vatican September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Massimiliano Migliorato
Pope Francis embraces a child during a special audience with relatives and close friends of the more than 80 victims of the attack in Nice in Paul VI hall at the Vatican September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Massimiliano Migliorato
Pope Francis meets relatives and close friends of the more than 80 victims of the attack in Nice during a special audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Massimiliano Migliorato
Pope Francis prays during a special audience with relatives and close friends of the more than 80 victims of the attack in Nice in Paul VI hall at the. REUTERS/Massimiliano Migliorato
Pope Francis meets relatives and close friends of the more than 80 victims of the attack in Nice during a special audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. REUTERS/Massimiliano Migliorato/CPP

Pope Francis has received relatives of the victims of this summer's lorry attack in Nice, France, offering "immense compassion" and encouraging them not to respond to hatred with hatred.

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The audience at the Vatican on Saturday included Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Francis said strong inter-religious relations could help "alleviate the wounds of these dramatic events".

Nice's former mayor brought a basket of 86 flowers to symbolise the 86 victims of the July 14 attack by an extremist who mowed down people celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city.

Francis cautioned against "responding to hatred with hatred and to violence with violence", although he said the temptation to do so is great.

Some at the meeting showed him photos of dead family members as he greeted participants one by one.

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