Pope prays to ‘convert hearts’ of IS jihadists

  • AFP , Vatican City
  • Updated: May 25, 2016 19:50 IST
Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the end of his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on Wednesday. (AFP)

Pope Francis on Wednesday asked God to “convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction” following a series of deadly attacks by the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria.

During his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff prayed for “eternal rest to the victims” and “consolation to their relatives” after suicide attacks in the regime’s coastal heartland that killed more than 150 people on Monday.

Read: Twin assaults in Syria, Iraq pile pressure on Islamic State

Francis said almost all the victims of the seven explosions targeting bus stations, hospitals and other civilian sites in the seaside cities of Jableh and Tartus were “unarmed civilians”. Eight of them were children.

More than 300 people were wounded in the attacks on strongholds of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

IS claimed the blasts in a statement, saying they were in retaliation for Syrian regime and Russian air strikes against jihadists.

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