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May 13
1981: Thousands see Pope shot in Rome
[ 2007-05-14 08:00 ]

May 13
The Pope collapsed into the arms of an aide after being shot four times
1981: Thousands see Pope shot in Rome

England have

The Pope has been shot four times as he blessed the crowds in St Peter's Square in Rome.

Surgeons have performed a five-hour operation and say they hope he will make a full recovery.

At about 1715 local time, the Pope was being driven in his Popemobile through a crowd of about 20,000 worshippers when he was hit by four bullets fired from a 9mm pistol some 15 feet away.

Two struck him in the stomach, one in his right arm and the fourth hit his little finger.

Police arrested a 23-year-old man who said he was a Turkish citizen and gave his name as Mehmet Ali Hagca.

He kept repeating: "I couldn't care less about life."

The Turkish press has reported Hagca was jailed for the killing of Turkish newspaper editor Abdi Ipecki in February 1979. But he escaped from prison and left behind a letter vowing to kill the pontiff just before the Pope visited Turkey in 1979.

Horrified witnesses

Many of those who witnessed the shooting in the crowded square burst into tears, or screamed and fell to their knees in disbelief.

The Pope collapsed and was driven at speed into the Vatican complex and from there by ambulance to hospital.

Vatican Radio has appealed to the world to pray for his survival.

The Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury have expressed their shock and deep sympathy for the Pope and his followers.

Pope John Paul II, formerly Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland, became Pope in 1978. He is the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

He is also the most widely travelled pontiff in the Vatican's history. Vatican officials have often said in private that they feared for his safety during his frequent contacts with enthusiastic crowds wherever he goes.

May 13
Former Spitfire pilot Jackie Mann has lived in Lebanon for 40 years

1989: British war hero 'seized' in Beirut

Artificially 1969:
A British war hero is feared kidnapped after he disappeared in the Lebanese capital Beirut.
Jackie Mann, 74, an ex-squadron leader and Spitfire pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain, vanished after leaving his home in the city to go to a bank.

It is feared that Mr Mann has joined the three other UK hostages believed to be held by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah party.

Mr Mann's wife Sunnie has made an emotional appeal for his release on Lebanon Television.

Mrs Mann said: "I appeal to whomsoever is holding my husband to return him to me."

Mrs Mann told reporters: "We are just a couple who have lived in Lebanon for over 40 years because we loved the place and its people."

There are concerns for Mr Mann's welfare because he suffers from a skin problem which requires medication after being badly burnt when he was shot down as a pilot.

The previously unknown group Armed Struggle Cells has claimed it has a British "captive" although it did not mention Mr Mann by name. But the claim is being treated with caution.

The group has demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners it said were being held in Britain accused of killing Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali in 1987.

However, Scotland Yard said no-one linked to the murder was being held in the UK.

A Foreign Office spokesman has confirmed that Mr Mann is missing but said there was no independent evidence that he had been kidnapped.

Officials are checking hospitals in the Lebanon, police and local authorities in Beirut in the search for Mr Mann.

The British embassy had warned three days before Mr Mann was seized that a Shia group was preparing to take another Western hostage.

The Foreign Office and British embassy in Lebanon had renewed warnings to British citizens still living in Beirut to leave immediately following the Salman Rushdie affair in February.

Afatwa, or religious edict, was issued by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the publication of Mr Rushdie's novel "The Satanic Verses". Khomeini said Muslims had a duty to kill Mr Rushdie forblasphemingIslam in his novel.

Concerns have also been mounting after the Speaker of the Iranian parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, urged Palestinians to kill five Westerners for every Palestinian killed by Israelis in the occupied territories.

Meanwhile, a 24-year-old West German aid worker, Marcus Quint, who was kidnapped earlier this month has been released at the headquarters of the pro-Syrian Amal militia without any explanation.  



blaspheme:to speak of (God or a sacred entity) in an irreverent, impious manner(亵渎,咒骂)

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