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Pope Calls for Peace in Middle East, Africa - 2003-08-31

Pope John Paul II has called for an end to violence in the Middle East and Africa.

The pope prayed to the Virgin Mary in his weekly address Sunday to "dry the tears that hate and violence provoke in many regions of the earth, especially in the Middle East and African continent."

The pope's words came after a car bomb exploded on Friday outside a mosque in the Iraqi city of Najaf. More than 80 people were killed, including a top Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim cleric.

Pope John Paul looked weak and spoke with difficulty during his appearance at his summer retreat outside of Rome. The 83-year-old pontiff suffers from Parkinson's disease and other ailments that limit his mobility and speech.