Trabzon, Turkey — A teenage boy shot and killed the Italian Roman Catholic priest of a church in the Black Sea port city of Trabzon on Sunday, shouting "God is great" as he escaped, according to police and witnesses.
Officers were searching for the boy, aged around 14 or 15, according to a police official who declined to be identified because of rules that bar Turkish civil servants from speaking to journalists without prior authorization.
The police official could not say whether the attack might be linked to caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were printed in European newspapers, which has caused anger in Muslim countries. Earlier Sunday, hundreds of Turks protested in Istanbul against the cartoons.
The priest, 60-year-old Andrea Santoro, was shot hours after Mass at Santa Maria Church.
Pope Benedict XVI's envoy in Turkey, Monsignor Antonio Lucibello, declined to speculate on the motive for the killing, but said there were "no elements" to link the attack with the protests over the newspaper cartoons.