Pope Francis assured the Turkish people of his closeness after the suicide bombing in Ankara on Sunday

Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to Turkey after a suicide car bomb killed at least 37 people in Ankara on Sunday.

More than 120 people were also injured when the vehicle exploded in the capital city. The Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or an affiliate group are suspected of being behind the attack.

In a telegram to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, writing on behalf of Pope Francis, said the Pontiff was “deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the bombing in Ankara.”

“His Holiness Pope Francis assures the Turkish people of his spiritual closeness and solidarity,” the statement said.

“He prays for the eternal rest of those who have died and for all who mourn their loss, as well as for the recovery of those affected by this heinous act of violence. Mindful of the generous service being rendered by security and emergency personnel, His Holiness invokes the divine blessings of peace, healing and strength upon the nation.”

Pope Francis has also sent a message expressing his condolences to the people of Ivory Coast after a shooting at the Grand-Bassam beach resort on Sunday.

In a telegram to Bishop Raymond Ahoua of Grand Bassam, Cardinal Parolin said: “Upon hearing the news of the heinous attack in Grand-Bassam, His Holiness Pope Francis presents condolences to the bereaved and assures the injured his spiritual closeness.”

Fourteen of those killed were civilians and two were soldiers, officials say. A further 33 people were injured when the gunmen opened fire at the resort. Three of the terrorists also died, with Islamist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claiming responsibility for the attack.

The telegram added that Francis “entrusts the victims to the mercy of God to welcome them into his peace and light.”