Catholic Priest Stabbed in Turkey

ANKARA (BBC)–A French Roman Catholic priest has been stabbed by a knife-carrying attacker in the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun.

The attack on Father Pierre Brunissen–74–is the third assault on a Catholic priest in Turkey in recent months.

Father Brunissen was stabbed in the hip and leg and rushed to hospital–but a church official said his condition was not life-threatening.

Police detained an unnamed 47-year-old man who they described as suffering from mental illness.

The man had allegedly made complaints about Frather Brunissen trying to convert people to his faith.

Reports said he was attacked in a busy street about 1 kilometers from his church. "I hope this has nothing to with Islamic fundamentalism," Monsignor Luigi Padovese–the apostolic vicar for Anatolia–told the Associated Press .

"The climate has changed… it is the Catholic priests that are being targeted." Father Andrea Santoro–an Italian–was shot dead in his church in the northern town of Trabizon in February.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with the 60-year-old priest’s death. Witnesses said the youth yelled "God is great" in Arabic before firing two bullets into Santoro’s back.

Another priest–a Slovenian–was grabbed by the throat–thrown into a garden and received death threats during an attack in the port of Izmir–the Associated Press reported.


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