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Pope Francis: Suicide bombers are not 'martyrs'

The pontiff says true martyrs do not harm others as he addresses frequent attacks against Christian minorities.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has repudiated the idea that suicide bombers can be considered "martyrs", saying true martyrs do not harm others but rather are meek, honest and persecuted for their faith as true children of God.

"Christians are repelled by the idea that suicide bombers can be called 'martyrs'. They are not martyrs. There's nothing in them that can be even close to the attitude of children of God," he said on Wednesday during his weekly catechism lesson in the Vatican.

The pontiff has frequently raised the issue amid attacks against Christian minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Francis has lamented that there are more Christian martyrs today than in the times of the early church.

The latest attack against Christians took place in Egypt's Tanta and Alexandria cities in April when two churches were blown up, killing at least 45 people.

The responsibility for the attacks against the country’s Coptic Christians was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

ISIL also said it was behind a Cairo church bombing in December that killed 29 people.

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