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U.S., Pope Condemn Deadly Iraqi Church Attack

An Iraqi Christian woman (right) holds a picture of her son, who was killed in the October 31 church attack.
The United States and the Roman Catholic Church have joined condemnations of an attack on a Baghdad Catholic church that led to the deaths of more than 50 worshipers and police.

A White House statement described the October 31 hostage-taking attack, which has been claimed by an Al-Qaeda-linked organization, as "senseless" and offered condolences to Iraqis.

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned it as a "ferocious" assault on defenseless people who had gathered in a church.

And Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he feared the attack was an attempt to reignite sectarian fighting among Iraqis.

The siege, which ended after Iraqi forces stormed the Our Lady of Salvation Church, has been described as the bloodiest single incident involving Iraq's Christian community since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

compiled from agency reports