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Islamic State crucifies Catholic priest in Yemen

By Justin Huggler

An Indian Catholic priest was crucified by Islamic State on Good Friday in Yemen, according to a group with close ties to the home he was abducted from.

A Dubai-based prayer group with close ties to the missionary home in Aden reported Father Tom Uzhunnallil's death on its Arabic website. He had been kidnapped earlier this month.

Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna, referred to the claims in his Easter Sunday homily.

Asked about the reports on Austrian television news, the archbishop replied: "We hope that it's not so, but we have to fear that it's true".

The Corpus Christi Dubai report appears to lend weight to warnings that Islamic State was planning to crucify Father Uzhunnallil on Good Friday.

Fr Uzhunnallil (56), was kidnapped on March 4 by gunmen who raided Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, the Aden missionary home where he had been working as a chaplain. Sixteen people were killed in the attack.

Sister Sally, the order's mother superior who survived the attack, claimed the gunmen were from Isil, and a neighbour reportedly witnessed militants driving away with Fr Uzhunnallil in a car.

The latest reports come just days after Sushma Swaraj, India's foreign minister, said the country was working to secure his release.

"Fr Tom Uzhunnallil - an Indian national from Kerala - was abducted by a terror group in Yemen. We are making all efforts to secure his release," she wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

She had earlier written: "We will spare no efforts to rescue Father Tom Uzhunnallil."

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