LES COMBES, Italy, JULY 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI joined the two minutes of silence observed in Europe for the victims of the London terrorist attacks.

Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, who is accompanying the Pope during his vacation in the Italian Alps, said that the Holy Father at midday today "prayed for the victims of terrorism, for their families and, specifically, for peace."

The spokesman added that the Pope "prayed that such acts of violence are not repeated."

The July 7 transit bombings in London left 53 dead, including the four suicide attackers, and 700 wounded.

Recalling that the Pontiff prays the Angelus daily, Navarro-Valls pointed out that "on this occasion, he has prayed for the needs of the world."

Benedict XVI, who withdrew to his chapel to pray when he first heard the news of the bombings, sent a message of spiritual closeness to the victims' families and to the wounded. Last Sunday he appealed to the terrorists, saying: "In the name of God, stop!"

The proposal to observe the two minutes of silence was expressed Wednesday during a meeting on terrorism of the interior ministers of European Union countries.

Vatican Radio, which joined the initiative, proposed it to its listeners in the Holy See and to Catholics worldwide.