|Church Bombings Terrorize Iraqi Christians
16 July 2009
Four Iraqis were killed and several more were wounded in a series of bomb attacks against Christian churches in Baghdad over the weekend.
The latest round of attacks -- six bombs within 24 hours -- highlights the ongoing dangers Iraqi Christians face in the predominantly Muslim country.
On Saturday night, two bombs were detonated at St. Joseph's Church located in western Baghdad causing damage, but no reported injuries.
Three car bombs also exploded near an eastern Baghdad church Sunday afternoon, killing four people and injuring 21.
The car bombs exploded in 15-minute intervals, as church members arrived for Sunday evening mass.
One Christian Iraqi, who witnessed the Sunday explosions, said he is concerned that increased sectarian violence is driving even more Christians from the country.
"(If this continues) there will be no Christians left in Iraq," Sabhan George said.
Many Iraqi Christians in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul have fled the country as Islamic extremists terrorize citizens with violent attacks. There are an estimated 750,000 believers in Iraq's Christian community.
"The terrorists are determined to hamper the political process in Iraq and not let Iraqis live in peace even after the withdrawal of foreign forces from the cities," Christian lawmaker Younadem Kana told reporters after Sunday's attacks.
"We demand that the Iraqi government take all necessary measures to protect Christians in Baghdad, and in all of Iraq," he added.
Violence in Iraq has diminished since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The U.S. military completed a withdrawal of combat forces from Iraqi cities to outlying bases in late June as part of a plan to let Iraq lead its own security forces.
However, terrorists continue to push sectarian tension with lethal attacks on the Christian community.
The weekend assaults came after the Iraqi military predicted that insurgent attacks could continue for a few years, raising the possibility of more violence after the scheduled withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.
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