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Pope condemns religious violence in Iraq, Nigeria

Written by: Staff

VATICAN CITY, Feb 26 (Reuters) Pope Benedict today condemned religious violence in Iraq and Nigeria, saying God would punish those who killed in his name.

Tit-for-tat riots between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria in the past week have killed more than 150 people, with churches and mosques destroyed by rampaging mobs.

In Iraq more than 200 people have died in just four days of violence between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.

''The fruits of faith in God are not devastating antagonism, but a spirit of fraternity and co-operation for the common good,'' the Pope told a large crowd of faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly Angelus blessing.

''God, the Creator and Father of all, will demand an even more serious reckoning from those who shed the blood of a brother in his name,'' he said.

Benedict said the upsurge of violence in Iraq, including attacks on mosques, was tragic, adding: ''These actions sow grief, fuel hate and seriously impede the already difficult work of reconstruction in the country.'' REUTERS OM RS1714

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