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3/7/2016 8:30 AM Washington D.C., (International Christian Concern) – The world is in shock as militant gunmen stormed a Catholic nun-operated retirement home in Aden, Yemen. Officials said the attackers moved room to room handcuffing the victims before finally shooting 16 staff members in the head.

The home was created as a charity by Mother Theresa and is run by nuns who dedicated their lives to continuing her work throughout the war-torn region. In addition to those killed, an Indian priest was kidnapped in the attack, and his status remains unknown. The murdered caregiving nuns had chosen to work at the retirement home in Yemen rather than return home to safety when they had the opportunity. In addition to those four nuns, the other victims were “four local nurses, four security guards, and three cleaning staff,” according to medical sources.

The members of the charity and those in the surrounding communities remain “absolutely stunned” by the brutal attack against a charitable organization that served the elderly of all faiths. Pope Francis called the nuns modern-day martyrs who gave their blood for Christ’s work.  He went on to explain that, before deciding to remain in Yemen to work at the retirement home, the Sisters had been part of a project to care for refugees and help them in their transition to Rome or other areas in Europe.

The four nuns were from Rwanda, India, and Kenya, but had dedicated their lives to following in the footsteps of Mother Theresa and remaining in the “wilderness” to serve people.  The attackers escaped after the massacre and have yet to be found.  The Vatican released an official statement regarding the murders of the Sisters as Pope Francis called the attack “diabolical.”

Yemen has seen terrible bloodshed over the past few years following the Saudi attacks against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels (linked to Hezbollah), who overturned the Yemeni government. Al-Qaeda fighters have also entered Yemen to counter the Shia-Houthi influence in the area.  The gunmen have not been captured yet, but Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (known as Ansar al-Sharia) released a statement assuring the world that they are not responsible for the attack.  Many are blamingthe Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) for the brutal attack, but those reports have yet to be confirmed.

Emma Lane, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said: This act was so horrendous, that even the most dangerous branch of Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, felt the need to release an official press statement denying they had anything to do with such a terrible act.  AQAP ensured the media know they would have nothing to do with the brutal murders of nuns and charitable workers at a retirement home founded by Mother Theresa.    

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