After Bangladesh Attack, Pope Prays for ‘Conversion of Violent Ones Blinded by Hate’

The Latest on the attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone in the Bangladeshi capital (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Pope Francis has led tens of thousands of pilgrims, tourists and Romans in silent prayer for the dozens of people who perished in militant attacks on a Dhaka, Bangladesh, restaurant and two bombings in Baghdad.

Francis told the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday that he expresses closeness to the families of the victims and the wounded. He urged prayers so that “the Lord converts the heart of violent ones blinded by hate.”

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5 p.m.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi says Islamic State group must be destroyed “without pity” but in a way so that next generation doesn’t harbor such hate, too.

Renzi spoke Sunday to Sky TG24 TV, referring to the weekend attack in a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed 22 people, including nine Italians.

The Italian leader notes IS is losing on the military level in Syria, Iraq and Libya. But he advocated an “iron fist” against those using a “strategy based on hate and terror.”

Says Renzi: “We must destroy them without pity, but also avoiding that the next generation is like this” one.

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4:30 p.m.

Police are blocking all access to streets near the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area as security officials look for evidence after the weekend hostage crisis that left 28 dead, including six attackers and 20 of the hostages.

Sunday is the first of two days of national mourning for the victims. In the morning, investigators from Bangladesh and Japan visited the restaurant to collect evidence. The dead included nine Italians and seven Japanese development workers.

After the hostage siege began Friday night, authorities said 25 officers and one civilian had been wounded, and 10 of them were in critical condition. People were not allowed near the hospital on Saturday and Sunday, and hospital staff would give no updates on those injured.

Some of the 13 rescued hostages also were treated for injuries.

SOURCE: AP

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