Pope Francis led pilgrims in prayers for peace as tensions between the United States and Iran escalated following the assassination of a top Iranian general.
Several days after Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, warned of “harsh retaliation” for the recent US drone attack that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the pope said that “a terrible air of tension is felt in many parts of the world”.
“War only brings death and destruction. I call on all parties to keep alive the flame of dialogue and self-control and avoid the shadow of enmity,” the pope said after praying the Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square on 5th January.
He then led the pilgrims in a moment of silent prayer so “that the Lord may give us the grace” of peace.
Picture: Mourners attend a funeral procession for Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Tehran, Iran, on 6th January 2020. The two men were killed on 3rd January in a US drone airstrike at Baghdad International Airport. (CNS photo/Nazanin Tabatabaee/West Asia News Agency via Reuters).