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Iraqi Christians targeted in deadly attacks
December 25, 2013, 11:43 pm

Thousands have been killed in Iraq in the past few months, renewing fears of a civil war [AP]

Thousands have been killed in Iraq in the past few months, renewing fears of a civil war [AP]

At least 37 people were killed in three separate attacks on Iraq’s Christian community as they celebrated Christmas Day on Wednesday, police sources have said.

In the deadliest attack, a car bomb outside a church in the Dora district of the capital Baghdad exploded as worshippers emerged from a Christmas Day mass killing 27 and wounding dozens.

Another attack targeted a marketplace popular with many in Baghdad’s 2,000-year-old Christian community, killing 11. Hospital sources said at least 70 people were injured and being treated.

Wednesday’s attack is the deadliest on the community since 2010.

In the early 1980s, Iraq’s Christian population numbered 1.4 million but socio-economic hardships brought on by the war with Iran and UN sanctions after the 1991 Gulf War pushed many in the ancient community to emigrate.

On August 2, 2004, more than a dozen Christian worshippers were killed when five Armenian, Assyrian and Chaldean churches came under co-ordinated attacks in the capital Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled their homes for the north or Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Europe and North America.

But violence in Iraq has not only targeted Christians; the UN says that more than 440 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of December.

More than 8,000 have been killed since April.

Source: Agencies

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