Yet more Iraqi Christians murdered
By Jane Arraf and Laith Hammoudi
Bombings in Baghdad late Tuesday and early Wednesday targeted Christians, killing at least four just 10 days after more than 50 Christians were killed by Al Qaeda-linked gunmen who stormed a church during Sunday mass
Click here for in-depth backgrounder
Click here for in-depth backgrounder
AGHDAD (TCSM) A wave of bombings and mortar attacks struck Christian areas across Baghdad Wednesday, sending families fleeing their homes a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged the government would protect them.
Interior Ministry officials said improvised bombs and a car bomb were detonated near the homes of Christians in at least seven neighborhoods in Baghdad late Tuesday and early Wednesday, killing at least four people and wounding more than 16.
The bombings, which came 10 days after more than 50 Christians were killed by Al Qaeda-linked gunmen who stormed a church during Sunday mass, have sown panic in the close-knit community.
Some fled their homes to seek refuge at the very church which was attacked on Oct 31.
"We were so afraid we left without taking anything," says Umm Danny, surrounded by her three children, a niece, and a nephew in the church hall of Our Lady of Salvation in central Baghdad. She said they hear explosions so often in their south Baghdad neighborhood of Dora they didn't think anything of it until one detonated on their block near the home of a particularly devout Christian family.
"We went barefoot onto the roof and climbed onto our Muslim neighbor's house," she says. "They helped us and told us to stay with them but we were afraid." Umm Danny, who did not want her full name used, said the neighbors cried when they left.
"I think this is only a warning," says another Christian planning to leave for the Kurdish capital of Erbil. "We are expecting anything at anytime. It seems as if they can do anything without anyone stopping them."
Mr. Maliki on Tuesday met with senior church leaders, telling them in a meeting aired on state-run television that his government would protect Christians.
Almost half of the approximately 800,000 Christians in Iraq before the war are believed to have fled many given refugee status in the West.
The assault on the church by a team of gunmen who passed through checkpoints with explosives along with more than 20 bombs in Shiite areas two days later have shaken faith in the government's ability to protect the population.
IRAQIS BLAME GOVERNMENT FOR WEAK SECURITY
The "Islamic State in Iraq," a group linked to Al Qaeda, declared responsibility for the Oct. 31 attack and followed with a warning that it would continue to kill Christians.
KURDISH LEADER: OUR DOORS ARE OPEN
Kurdish Prime Minister Barham Salih said he had spoken with the Chaldean patriarch to tell him the Kurdish regional government would give the fleeing families refuge.
CHURCH LEADERS UNCERTAIN HOW TO ADVISE FOLLOWERS
"Next door at Our Lady of Salvation, there appeared to be minimal security outside the church where the doors were hanging on their hinges and there were bullet holes in the walls. "Our bishops cannot do anything," said one Christian man, who said he blamed the political vacuum for the violence.
Christian member of parliament Ynadim Kennah said the bombings pointed out the short-comings of the government security institutions and the chaos of the political vacuum.
"They are an evidence of the failure of the intelligence agencies," he asked. "What can the forces do in the streets if they don't have intelligence information?"
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