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Prayers said worldwide after Orlando Massacre

by Aaron James

Pope Francis and Most Revd Justin Welby are among millions praying after gunman Omar Mateen shot dozens dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, before police shot him dead in a firefight.

A vigil (above) in memory of the victims has been held in Miami Beach.

It's now emerged 29-year-old Omar Mateen telephoned emergency services declaring allegiance to Islamic State before starting his massacre at Pulse.

Islamic State has said one of their fighters committed the atrocity, however it is believed IS inspired Omar Mateen's actions rather than directly organising them.

Omar Mateen's ex-wife has also said she had to be rescued from the marriage after he regularly beat her.

A statement from the Vatican said: "The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred.

"Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion.

"Sharing in their indescribable suffering he entrusts them to the Lord so they may find comfort.

"We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity."

Another 53 were injured in the Orlando Massacre, many critically.

Barack Obama, who has campaigned for stricter gun controls in the US, has condemned the murders as an "act of terror and an act of hate".

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