LES COMBES, Italy, JULY 24, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appealed to all believers to pray that God will stop "the murderous hand" of terrorists, a day after deadly bomb blasts rocked an Egyptian resort town.

The Pope made his appeal today before praying the midday Angelus with some 8,000 people who came to the Alpine chalet where he is vacationing.

"These days of peace and rest have also been disturbed by the tragic news of the execrable terrorist attacks, which have caused death, destruction and suffering in several countries, such as Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Great Britain," the Holy Father said.

After "entrusting to divine goodness the deceased, the wounded and their loved ones, victims of such gestures that offend God and man," Benedict XVI appealed for prayers that "the Almighty stop the murderous hand of those who, moved by fanaticism and hatred, have committed them and convert their hearts to thoughts of reconciliation and peace."

On Saturday the Holy See published the message that Benedict XVI sent to the civil and religious authorities of Egypt as soon as he heard of the three bombs that exploded in Sharm al-Sheik, a Red Sea resort town. Officials said 88 people died as a result of the attack.

Appeal for peace

"In condemning the senseless acts, His Holiness appeals to all to renounce the way of violence which causes so much suffering to civilian populations, and instead to embrace the way of peace," affirmed the message, sent in the Pontiff's name by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state.

"Praying for the eternal repose of the dead," the Holy Father "invokes upon all the afflicted the Almighty's blessings of comfort and strength," it concluded.

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls said on Saturday that, upon hearing the news of the attacks, "the Pope retired immediately to pray for the victims and the wounded."

Navarro Valls described the attacks as "acts that are the fruit of a terrible nihilism."