Vatican City, Jan 4, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, sent a telegram in the Holy Father's name to Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, Apostolic Nuncio in France, upon news of the Egyptian plane that crashed into the Red Sea shortly after taking off from Sharm el-Sheik Airport.
All passengers aboard, the majority of whom were French, died.
“The Holy Father expresses his heartfelt condolences to the families affected and assures all those hit by this catastrophe of his solidarity and spiritual closeness. He entrusts those who died to the mercy of God and asks God Almighty to embrace them in His peace and light. He asks God to sustain and console all the persons who are so harshly tried by this drama, with the hope that they may be able to find the help that they need in these sorrowful hours,” reads the telegram.
Early on Monday, an unknown Islamic group “Ansar al Haq” claimed responsibility for the crash, and threatened with further attempts against French airplanes.