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Bombs explode near give churches in Baghdad and Mosul

Terrorists targeted four churches in the Iraqi capital and one in the northern city of Mosul in the early hours of this morning eastern Australian time, with exploding bombs killing at least 10 people and wounding hundreds.

In Mosul (the ancient city of Niniveh) the Chaldean church of St Paul was hit. A car bomb placed near a power generator killed one person wounding 50. The explosion took place at 7:00 pm local time.

"People were just coming out of the Church; it was terrible," one eye witness said. The man killed was the father of an Iraqi priest.

In Baghdad according to eye witness accounts car bombs exploded outside the Armenian Church, not far the Chaldean Rite Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph, the Mar Eliya (St Elijah) of Heyra Church in Hay al-Amin in New Baghdad, the Syriac-Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation and finally the Chaldean Church of the Disciples Mar Putros and Mar Polos (Sts Peter and Paul) near the Chaldean Catholic Seminary in al-Dura.

Speaking to AsiaNews by telephone, Bishop Rabban al Qas, Bishop of Amadiya, said: "This is the work of terrorists. This is terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism that come from outside the country. It is not the work of Iraqis. Iraqis have never done such things."

In the last few months some Christian-owned stores selling alcoholic beverages have come under attack. Today's bombs represent an escalation. "It is a vendetta," the bishop added. "By striking at Eastern Christians they want to strike at the West. For them Christianity and the Western world are but one and the same."

There are some 800,000 Christians in a total Iraqi population of 24.2 million, divided in different communities and following different rites.

Bombs explode near 5 churches in Baghdad and Mosul ( 1/8/04)

Bomb blasts rock Iraqi churches (BBC 1/8/04)
In pictures: Iraq church blasts (BBC 1/8/04)
Iraqi Christians' long history (BBC 1/8/04)
Four car bombs target churches (The Courier Mail 2/8/04)
Two Dead After Iraq Church Blasts (The Guardian/Associated Press 1/8/04)
Multiple bombings hit Baghdad, Mosul (AP/MSNBC 1/8/04)

2 Aug 2004