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Pope John Paul II Shot Twice In Assassination Attempt

Historical Events

In St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981 Pope John Paul II was shot twice at near point-blank range while the pope rode in an open car across the square. Mehmet Ali Agca had escaped from a Turkish prison where he was being held on murder charges. Agca was captured immediately.

The Pope was hit in the abdomen, left hand and right arm.
The bullets missed any vital organs and doctors were able to save the Pope's life.

A theory about the assassination attempt speculated that Bulgarian secret service agents had hired Agca on behalf of the Soviet Union. The motive was attributed to the growing democracy movement that was very much alive in Pope John Paul's native Poland at the time (strongly supported by the pontiff) and that would eventually lead to the downfall of communism. No proof was ever found that Agca hadn't acted alone.

Agca served more than 19 years of a life sentence before being pardoned by the Italian government and returned to serve the remainder of a 10-year sentence in Turkey for the murder of newspaper editor Abdi Ipekci.

Posted:  2003-12-16  3:37:33 PM

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John Paul II Is Elected Pope Of The Catholic Church

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