Skip to comments.Christians, churches attacked in Iraq during celebrations
Posted on 01/07/2008 5:50:53 AM PST by NYer
Baghdad - At least seven attacks using mortar shells, explosive devices and car bombs hit churches and monasteries in Baghdad and Mosul overnight Monday as orthodox Christians in Iraq were celebrating New Year's Eve. At least six people were wounded, including two guards, Voices of Iraq news agency reported. The attacks happened during the New Year's celebrations according to the Gregorian calendar still used by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
On Monday morning, Iraq's Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, condemned the attacks saying he sympathized with the Christian brothers.
"I stand with them against this brutal attack that turned happiness into misery and concerns," he said.
In one of the attacks, two explosive charges detonated near Saint Maskinta church in the afternoon, destroying the external wall of the church and creating a wave of panic among children and nuns.
Bishop Faraj Raho in Mosul told VOI that the "the two charges were planted in front of the bishopric adjacent to Saint Maskinta church.
"The bishopric was turned into an orphanage for girls, so the blast startled the 30 girls and the nuns living in the orphanage."
In Mosul, a monastery in western Mosul, a Catholic convent in the Jadida neighbourhood, the Saint Paul Church in Mohandiseen and the Virgin Mary Church of Assyrian Christians in Shohadaa were also attacked.
The blasts smashed church windows and caused damage to nearby houses.
In Baghdad, a Roman Orthodox Church in the city's eastern part was hit by a mortar attack while a monastery in the Zafaraniyah neighbourhood in the south was also targeted.
VOI said, citing official figures, that there had been an estimated 1.2 million Christians in Iraq before the US-led invasion in 2003. However, half of them have reportedly left the country while others have been forced by gunmen to relocate to other areas.
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