Would-be assassin of John Paul II to be released





The gunman who wounded Pope John Paul II said Wednesday he would answer questions about the 1981 attack after he is released from prison next week.

Little is known about what led Mehmet Ali Agca to shoot at the pope while he was greeting the faithful in St. Peter's Square, but that he has said that foreign powers had conspired to have the Polish-born pontiff killed.

"I will answer to all of these questions in the next weeks," Agca said in a letter written in English and released by his lawyers.

Historians, law enforcement officials and John Paul's followers have long sought answers about the attack, including whether it was a plot to assassinate the pope whose championing of Poland's Solidarity labor movement figured in the demise of communism in the Soviet bloc.

When Agca was arrested minutes after the attack, he declared he had acted alone. Later, he suggested Bulgaria and the Soviet Union's KGB were behind the attack, but then backed off that line. His contradictory statements, including claims to be a Messiah, have frustrated prosecutors over the decades and raised questions about his mental health.

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