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Pope Francis calls Paris attacks "blasphemy"

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has once again condemned the Paris terror attacks, calling it "blasphemy" to use the name of God to justify "violence and hatred."

The pope expressed shock at the "barbarity" of the attacks and told followers in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that "we wonder how can it come to the heart of man to conceive and carry out of such horrible events."

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The pope added that "the road of violence and hatred does not resolve humanity's problems. And using the name of God to justify this road is blasphemy."

Francis expressed his deepest condolences to French President Francois Hollande and to the French people.

Pope Francis has often framed the upsurge in violence around the globe in terms of a "third World War" being waged piecemeal through crimes, massacres, religious persecution and the destruction of cultural sites.

On Saturday, he told the Italian Bishops Conference TV2000 that the attacks in Paris were "part" of that, adding "there are no justifications for these things."

At least 127 people died in Friday night's rampage in Paris. France has been in an official state of mourning since the attacks, with the Eiffel Tower going dark and President Francois Hollande vowing that France would wage "merciless" war on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which claimed responsibility for the mayhem, as investigators raced to track down their accomplices and uncovered possible links to networks in Belgium and Syria.

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