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Five churches bombed in Baghdad

The Iraqi Interior Ministry has said that a string of bombs exploded at five churches across Baghdad early on Saturday, though no casualties were reported.

AsiaNews reports that the explosions rang out in quick succession over an hour and half starting at 11:00 am Sydney time, at St Joseph's Church in the Nafaq Al-Shurta area. The other churches hit were St Jacob's Church and St George's Church in the Doura neighbourhood, the Church of Rome in the Karrada neighbourhood and St. Thomas Church in the Mansour area. Abdul-Rahman said the churches all had some exterior damage, with windows blown out.

In August, coordinated attacks hit four churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul, killing at least seven people and wounding dozens more in the first significant strike against Iraq's minority Christians since the US occupation began last year.

Catholic Chaldean Patriarch, Monsignor Emmanuel Delly (pictured), told AsiaNews that terrorism has struck, and continues to strike Muslims as well.

"Just as they have attacked mosques, they attacked churches also, but we thank the Lord that no one was killed or injured. There is a lot of damage to property, but no victims.

Iraq's community of 750,000 Christians has grown increasingly anxious at the rise of Islamic fundamentalism since the ouster of Saddam Hussein last year. Christian dignitaries say the increase of fundamentalism is due to the presence of Islamic groups from neighboring countries. Hundreds of Christians have fled to neighbouring Jordan and Syria, waiting for the situation to calm down.

Senior Muslim leaders in Iraq have condemned the violence, trying to quell Christian fears they were being routed from the country.

Five churches bombed in Baghdad, no casualties reported ( 16/10/04)
Patriarch of Baghdad: "We must stay in Iraq to build peace" ( 16/10/04)

Churches bombed in Baghdad (Ekklesia 16/10/04)
New church bombings in Baghdad (Catholic World News 16/10/04)
War and truth in our time
Baghdad Patriarch says 'we knocked, a door opened' (CathNews 29/9/04)
Pope calls on Muslims, Christians to unite after Iraqi church attacks (CathNews 3/8/04)

18 Oct 2004