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The Turkish gunman who tried to kill Pope John Paul II wasn't acting alone, a Kurd rebel leader claims in a letter made public Monday seeking the pope's support for the Kurdish cause.

The Vatican's only immediate response was that the Kurds and their opponents should solve their disputes peaceably.

Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan was arrested Nov. 12 as soon as he came to Rome seeking asylum from Turkey. A Rome court freed Ocalan on Friday, rejecting a Turkish warrant for the guerrilla chief Turkey considers its most-wanted fugitive.

Ocalan wrote to the pope Wednesday while in custody in Rome, La Repubblica daily said.

Ocalan's letter hints that blame for the May 11, 1981, attack in St. Peter's Square could lie with two enemies of the Kurds: Turkish nationalists and the Turkish military.

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