Israel Criticizes Pope for Failing to Condemn Terror Here

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The Vatican envoy was summoned to the Foreign Ministry yesterday as Israel expressed its outrage that Pope Benedict XVI failed to condemn terror against Israelis.

On Sunday the pontiff prayed for God to stop the "murderous hand" of terrorists, during his noontime blessing delivered from his Alpine retreat in Italy's northwestern Valle d'Aosta region, where he is vacationing.

Benedict referred to the recent "abhorrent terrorist attacks" in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq, but did not mention attacks in Israel.

"The pope deliberately failed to condemn the terrible terror attack that occurred in Israel last week," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

A July 12 suicide bombing in the seaside city of Netanya killed five Israelis. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

"We expected that the new pope, who on taking office emphasized the importance he places on relations between the Church and the Jewish people, would behave differently," the statement said.

The statement called on the pope to condemn attacks "against Jews in the same way he condemns terror attacks against others."

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