Bomb near Church, Attacks Kill 44 across Iraq

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Attacks, including bombs that exploded in a market near a church in Baghdad, killed at least 44 people across Iraq on Wednesday, officials said.

The bloodletting comes as Iraq suffers its worst violence since 2008, when it was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings.

"Two roadside bombs exploded in a popular market in Dura, killing 35 people and wounding 56," interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan told Agence France Presse, referring to a religiously mixed south Baghdad area.

Militants frequently attack places where crowds gather, including markets, cafes and mosques, in an effort to cause maximum casualties.

Security officials had initially said that a car bomb targeted the St. John church in Baghdad in addition to the market blasts, but Maan, along with a priest from the area and the Chaldean patriarch, all later denied this.

"The attack was against a... market and not a church," Maan said, while adding that "the targeted area is a mix of Muslims and Christians."

Archdeacon Temathius Esha, an Assyrian priest in Dura, and Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako both also insisted that the church was not the target.

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad, however, issued a statement condemning attacks in Dura "that targeted Christians celebrating Christmas."

Other attacks on Wednesday left nine more people dead.

North of Baghdad, a bomb exploded under the bleachers at a football pitch, killing four people, among them two police, and wounding 11.

Another bombing in south Baghdad killed at least one person and wounded at least three, while gunmen killed three police near Tikrit, north of Baghdad, and bombs on the road between Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu, also north of the capital, killed one person and wounded seven.

Experts say widespread discontent among Iraq's minority Sunni Arab community is a major factor fueling the surge in unrest this year.

But although the government has made some concessions aimed at placating Sunni Arabs, including freeing prisoners and raising the salaries of Sunni anti-al-Qaida fighters, underlying issues remain unaddressed.

The bloody 33-month civil war in Syria, which has bolstered extremist groups, has also played a role in the intensifying violence, with the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carrying out attacks on both sides of the border.

Defense ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari told AFP that aerial photographs and other information pointed to "the arrival of weapons and advanced equipment from Syria to the desert of western Anbar and the border of Nineveh province," referring to Sunni-majority areas bordering Syria.

This has encouraged al-Qaida-linked militants to "revive some of their camps that were eliminated by security forces in 2008 and 2009," Askari said, adding that aerial photos showed 11 militant camps near the border with Syria.

Iraqi security forces have launched an operation against militants dubbed "Avenge the Leader Mohammed," named for a divisional commander who was killed during a raid targeting militants.

The defense ministry said in an online statement issued Wednesday that security forces had killed 11 militants in a three-day period, and captured weapons and equipment.

But military operations launched earlier this year aimed at combating the relentless violence appear to have done little to curb the daily attacks.

It took just the first eight days of this month for the death toll to exceed 144 -- the number of people killed in all of December last year.

And more than 6,700 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

Comments 20
Thumb grimreaper 25 December 2013, 13:23

I have seen many deaths in my days but none as sickening as by these terrorists infecting mankind in this modern day. I will be very busy. May God strike these terrorists at once.

Thumb kanaandian 25 December 2013, 13:28

sons of saudia arabia wish all christians in the world a very blood christmas...

Missing cowboymicho 25 December 2013, 13:33

I'm sure if this was a mosque bombing they would have found the perpetrators already. Because it's a church, I'm sure the security forces will work hard to not find the people responsible. Dirty animals. May the dead be in heaven.

Thumb kanaandian 25 December 2013, 13:37

theres a saudi al qaida member giving thumbs down to everyone. hopefully justice comes against the house of saud for its crimes and support of al qaida terrorists.

Missing greatpierro 25 December 2013, 13:39

wonder who voted you down

Missing greatpierro 25 December 2013, 13:41

It is not because M14 does not support the Assad regime, Iran or HA that means M14 are supporting the Takfiris.

Thumb Mystic 25 December 2013, 15:05

True words guys, this is the worst act of crime to be comitted.

Thumb Mystic 25 December 2013, 15:05

Wait in a few more years, and this will happen in Lebanon, i hope the Christians backing Geagea will open their eyes soon and leave that maniac.

Missing cowboymicho 25 December 2013, 15:38

Of course not Mystic. Geagea and crew are all blinded by the Harrir/Saudi funding.

Default-user-icon jay (Guest) 25 December 2013, 16:30

Evil..Very very evil Islam....Max the souls of those xtians Rest in everlasting peace.

Thumb ado.australia 25 December 2013, 17:18

In 2003, Iraq had 2 million christains. Now, 10 years later there are less than 200,000. Now the same is happening in Syria. 3 million christains in 2011... How many will survive this Syrian war?

Al nusra, Iraq and Syria Islamic state (ISIS) and the rest of the suadi funded and supported Syrian rebels want an Islamic califite. How can that occur with significant Christian and other non Sunni populations? The aim is to rid the middle east and the levant of any significant Christian populations. Hence the attack on maalula and other christain villages in Syria.

Last week geagea said that the christains don't need protection and are not in danger in the middle east! Well maybe Lebanese christains don't need protection due to there large and historic population, but else where they are now more than 10% of the population and the truth is clear.

Any association with these fanatical extremist, is tantamount to the destruction of any christain presence in the middle east!

Thumb ado.australia 25 December 2013, 17:21

What this article fails to highlight is that the second bomb detonated outside a Baghdad church after midnight mass, killing 15 worshipers as they left the church!

Missing peace 25 December 2013, 18:38

"There is a systematic attack on the Christian community in Syria and hundreds of thousands of Christians were displaced. Both sides are using the minority, Christians, as a political card, which is appalling from both sides. And we are losing, whoever wins at the end."

so not only the fanatics are responsible in syria but the regime as well according to reverend Nadim Nassar, an Anglican priest from Syria...

Thumb ado.australia 25 December 2013, 18:52

Ask the 16 Lebanese and Syrian nuns who were kidnapped from the mar taekla monestry in maalula if this comment in 2012 is reality? Ask the 2 bishops from Aleppo that have been kidnapped for over 9 months by al nusra if this is the reality on the ground. Ask the deacon/driver of the bishops and his family, was shot in the head fduring the kidnaping if this is correct. Ask the people of maalula who fled during the Islamist invasion, if the rebels that were beheading Christians who refused to convert and declared the end of crusader occupation, if they think the regime is responsible! Ask the head of the Anglican church... The archbishop of Canterbury, who today described the fate of the Christians in the middle east and the fact that christains are being targeted by al Quiada linked and supported Syrian rebels and Iraqi extremists!

Missing peace 26 December 2013, 00:06

well if you know better than this syrian reverend living in syria talking about christians in syria while living in australia! ... waw! you really believe you are a tough guy don't you!
maybe because what he says goes against your way to see things in syria? LOL

and this article is from dec 2013 if you took time to read it...

Missing bigjohn 26 December 2013, 05:10

PEACE you were able to find a Syrian reverend who criticized both sides. Wow I am impressed. Actually, the so called opposition have been able to find individual Christian tokens who even were on the side of the opposition who only criticized Assad. I totally agree with you that NOT ALL Christians or 100% of Christians in Syria think Assad is better that the opposition. This is like saying that in the 1970's the Lebanese Phalangist Party was not a "christian" party because 1 in every thousand members was a Muslim.

Missing VINCENT 25 December 2013, 22:12

If and when there is a need for protection for the Christians, I advise that "offense is the best defense". Those who want to hurt Christians, are few and do not represent the mindset of true "Islam". Nor, in my opinion, are true Muslims.

Thumb cedre 26 December 2013, 02:43

Chaldean patriarch now denying church in Baghdad was target of today's terror attack, says no worshipers killed,718429.0.html

Missing bigjohn 26 December 2013, 04:57

Most Christians have fled Iraq since America invaded and "liberated" in 2003. Dura is one of the few neighborhoods in Baghdad where you still have a considerable number of Christians living in the area, which is why it was bombed. 37 civilians were killed in a crowded neighborhood. This is NOT the first time that Christians were targeted and it is VERY DISTURBING. The Christians in Iraq DID NOT support the Shiite sectarian takeover of Iraq in a democratic election. Actually, many were Baathist members prior to the US invasion and most Christians who are now refugees wish that Saddam was still president. So why are the Sunni wahabi takfiris are killing the Christians? The same reason why they are killing Shiites. The wahabi takfiris are mass murderers who kill persons who they consider not a "true Muslim" especially if they are not Sunnis.

Missing bigjohn 26 December 2013, 04:57

The Zionist conquerors came to the Arab nation and later ethnically cleansed the indigenous Arab population. At least the Zionists (and I am saying this for the first time) did it without the continuous large scale massacres the takfiris have shown in Iraq, Syria, and increasingly will be Lebanon.