Pope Francis this weekend made a chilling characterization, calling the Friday attacks in Paris, which killed over 120 people, a piece of World War III.

In a phone interview with the official network for the Italian Bishops’ Conference, the pope said that the attacks, which ISIS claimed responsibility for, are part of a “piecemeal third world war.” The coordinated attacks on Friday were the deadliest attacks on France since World War II.

During his Sunday morning address in St. Peter’s Square, the pope said that the attacks “have shocked not only France but the whole world.”

While the wording used by the pope is alarming, it is not the first time he has alluded to the possibility of a World War III. In 2014, while discussing the spread of such terror entities as ISIS, he said “even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”

When asked about the pope’s comments, a White House spokesman told Rare that they will “decline comment on the comments or characterizations made by others” on the situation in Paris–something President Obama has addressed several times since Friday.

Yasmeen Alamiri is a political reporter for Rare. Follow her on Twitter @Yalamiri
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