Vatican censuresYassin killing

March 23, 2004 at 6:11 AM

VATICAN CITY, March 23 (UPI) -- Tha Vatican has issued a sharply worded censure of Israel's assassination of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Italian media reported.

"The Holy See unites with the international community in censuring the violent act which is not justifiable in any legal state," Joaquin Navarro Valls, who is among Pope John Paul II's closest associates, said Monday.

He said a "real and lasting peace (in the Middle East) cannot come from a simple show of force, but has to be the result of moral and legal action."

Observers said the statement did not name either Israel or the Palestinians, but the pope has made statements critical of both sides in the past.

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