4 Nuns Murdered in Attack on Elderly Care Home in Yemen
The Vatican condemns it as an 'act of senseless and diabolical violence'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2016 12:12 PM CST
Yemeni security forces gather outside an elderly care home after it was attacked by gunmen in the port city of Aden, Yemen, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

(Newser) – Four Catholic nuns and 12 others were killed during an attack on a home for the elderly Friday in Yemen, in what the Vatican is condemning as an "act of senseless and diabolical violence," CNN reports. According to the AP, six gunmen got past the home's gate in the city of Aden by pretending they were visiting their mothers. Four then entered the building and went from room to room, handcuffing victims and shooting them in the head. The nuns, members of an organization founded by Mother Teresa, were acting as nurses in the home and serving breakfast when the gunmen entered, the BBC reports. One nun was able to escape death by hiding inside a fridge. Two of the killed nuns were from Rwanda, one was from India, and another was from Kenya. A Yemeni cook and Yemeni guards were among the other victims.

Pope Francis was "shocked and profoundly saddened" by the violence, according to a Vatican press release. The Vatican's secretary of state says the Pope "prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms and take up the path of dialogue." A spokesperson for the nuns' organization, the Missionaries of Charity, says the nuns decided to stay in Yemen longer than required in order to continue helping people. The identity of the gunmen is unclear, but Yemeni officials are blaming ISIS. Yemen is in the midst of a civil war, which is being used as cover by both ISIS and al-Qaeda. More than 6,000 civilians have been killed since the war started.