Priest Stabbed in Turkey - 3rd Such Attack

Ankara, Turkey - A man stabbed a Roman Catholic priest Sunday in the Black Sea port of Samsun, a church official said, in the third attack against a Catholic cleric in Turkey in recent months.

The French priest, Pierre Brunissen, 74, was injured in the hip and leg and rushed to a hospital, Monsignor Luigi Padovese, the apostolic vicar for Anatolia, told The Associated Press by telephone from his church in Iskenderun, southern Turkey.

Brunissen, of Samsun's Mater Dolorosa church, lost a lot of blood but his condition was not life-threatening, Padovese said.

Police immediately detained his 47-year-old attacker, the Anatolia news agency said. The man, who was identified by the initials A.N., was described as being mentally ill and had made complaints against the priest for allegedly making Christian propaganda, the agency said.

It was the third attack against a Catholic priest in predominantly Muslim Turkey since February, when a priest was killed while kneeling in prayer in his church in the nearby city of Trabzon.

Another priest, a Slovenian, was grabbed by the throat, thrown into a garden and threatened with death in the Aegean port city of Izmir.

Also, a man upset by the newspaper caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad admitted throwing a fire bomb that caused a small fire on the roof of another church in Izmir.

"I hope this has nothing to with Islamic fundamentalism," Padovese said of the latest attack. "The climate has changed. ... It is the Catholic priests that are being targeted."

A 16-year-old youth currently is being tried for the killing of the Rev. Andrea Santoro, 60, who was shot Feb. 5 while praying in his parish in Trabzon. Witnesses said the youth shouted "Allahu Akbar!" _ Arabic for "God is great!" _ before firing two bullets into Santoro's back.