Wave of Baghdad bombings kills Christians (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) by Jacques Clement BAGHDAD, IRAQ 12/31/10 10:39 am ET)
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BAGHDAD (AFP) – A wave of bomb attacks in Iraq´s capital has killed
two Christians and wounded 16, further stoking fears in a community
already terrified after a massacre at a church there two months ago.
Fifteen bombs were placed at different Christian homes late on
Thursday, an interior ministry official said on Friday.
"Two Christians were killed and 16 wounded" by the 11 bombs that went
off, while security forces carried out controlled detonations of the
other four, the official said.
The only deadly attack killed Fawzi Ibrahim, 80, and his wife Janet
in Al-Ghadir in central Baghdad, where a number of Christians reside.
The couple had lived in the house with another family of Chaldean
Catholics, said a neighbour, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"At about 7:00 pm (1600 GMT), they found a bag placed at the gate.
One of the residents of the house thought it belonged to Mrs Ibrahim,
but when she opened it with her husband, a bomb hidden inside
exploded," said the neighbour.
The explosion killed the couple and wounded three other Ibrahim
"The couple had lived here for 40 years, and all the residents of the
area loved them," the neighbour said.
Thirty minutes later another bomb exploded in Al-Ghadir under Zaher
Sami Dawood´s car, which was parked outside the house where he lives
with his parents.
Shrapnel punched through the roof of the car, but a wall around the
family´s house shielded it and its occupants.
"We never intended to flee, but since yesterday, we are afraid," said
Zaher´s mother Amira, with tears in her eyes.
"We have nowhere to go, but we cannot stay here," she said.
Most of the bombs, which targeted Christian homes in seven different
parts of the city, were in the central district of Karrada, the
interior ministry official said.
Three devices wounded three Christians there, and all four of the
controlled detonations were also in Karrada.
Another bomb targeted a house in Al-Ilam neighbourhood in southern
Baghdad, wounding one person, two bombs wounded four people in Dora,
south of the city, and one bomb in Saidiya, also in the south,
wounded two people.
Another device targeted a Christian home in Yarmuk in western
Baghdad, wounding one. A house in Khadra, also in the west of the
city, was targeted by a bomb that wounded two people.
"It´s a mess. It shows the incapability of the government to restore
security," said Father Yousef Thomas Mirkis, the head of the
Dominican order in Iraq.
"It is very difficult to understand why people attack the Christians,
because we do not have any political power and we are not a threat,"
Father Saad Sirop Hanna, the head priest at a Chaldean Catholic
church in central Baghdad, said "the purpose of these attacks is to
threaten the Christians and force them to flee from Iraq."
The US embassy in Baghdad denounced the bombings.
"We condemn the attacks," said embassy spokesman David Ranz.
The bombings came almost two months to the day after an October 31
attack by militants on Our Lady of Salvation church in central
Baghdad, which left the 44 worshippers, two priests and seven
security forces members dead.
Al-Qaeda´s Iraqi affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed
responsibility for the attack and made new threats against
It said the attack was to force the release of two women in Egypt who
had allegedly converted to Islam and who they said were being held
hostage by the Coptic Church there.
Ten days after the church massacre, a string of bomb and mortar
attacks targeting the homes of Christians in Baghdad killed six
people and wounded 33 others.
On December 21, Chaldean Catholic archbishop Monsignor Louis Sarko
said in Kirkuk that he "and 10 other Christian personages received
threats from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq."
On Christmas Day, both the speaker of parliament, Osama al-Nujaifi,
and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki urged Christians, hundreds of
thousands of whom have fled abroad amid unrest since the 2003 US-led
invasion, to stay in Iraq.
"Iraqis don´t want the sound of the (church) bells to stop," Nujaifi
And Maliki said: "We strongly call on (Christians) to stay in their
country, to commit to their country and participate in building and
reconstructing it." (Copyright © 2010 Agence France Presse. 12/31/10)
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