Two Christians killed in Baghdad attacks

BAGHDAD — At least two Christians were killed and nine wounded in a string of six attacks on Christian homes in Baghdad on Thursday, an interior ministry official said.

By (AFP)

Published: Fri 31 Dec 2010, 9:49 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:14 AM

The worst incident was in the central district of Al-Ghadir, where a homemade bomb exploded around 8:00 pm (1700 GMT), killing the two Christians and wounding three others, including one Christian, the official said.

The attacks started at 7:30 pm and continued over two hours in six different parts of the capital as the Christian community still reels from a massacre at a Baghdad cathedral on October 31 in which 44 worshippers and two priests died.

Al-Ghadir is an area with a significant Christian population, though many have fled following the massacre and in light of threats by Al Qaeda to target them.

Other blasts, also from homemade bombs, injured another nine Christians.

Two bombs exploded in west Baghdad, one in the garden of a home in Yarmuk, where one person was hurt, and another in Khadra, wounding two Christians.

Another was hurt in an explosion in the Karrada district, which is where the cathedral is located.

And in south Baghdad, three Christians were hurt in explosions in Dora and two in Saidiya.

A pall of gloom has descended on Iraq’s badly battered Christian community since gunmen burst into Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad and began firing on worshippers.

Iraqi forces stormed the building to end what turned into a hostage situation and, by the end of the operation, the 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security forces personnel lay dead.

The attack was later claimed by Al-Qaeda, which threatened further attacks on Christians.

It said the attack was to force the release of two women in Egypt who had converted to Islam and were being held hostage by the Coptic Church there.

It also demanded that the Christians “show to the mujahedeen their seriousness to pressure this belligerent church to release the captive women from the prisons of their monasteries.”

Ten days later a string of attacks targeted the homes of Christians in Baghdad, killing six people and wounding 33 others.

Faced with the Al Qaeda threats, Iraq’s Christian community this year cancelled many Christmas celebrations rather than rejoicing.

In a sombre pre-Christmas address last week, the Middle East’s senior Catholic cleric expressed concern about the plight of Iraqi Christians, and offered his solidarity and support.

The number of Christians left in Iraq is estimated at between 450,000 and 500,000, including around 300,000 Roman Catholics. Between 800,000 and 1.2 million Christians lived in Iraq in 2003.

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