Iraq: More attacks on Christians in Baghdad a week after massacre

Baghdad – Another attack against Christians in Iraq, a week after the massacre in the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad. Two worshipers were killed yesterday, November 7: Louay Daniel Yacoub, 49, was in front of his apartment when strangers shot him dead. Another Christian was killed the same day, but his identity is not yet known. The shootings were referred by local AsiaNews sources, anonymous for security reasons.

The Muslim community has expressed its solidarity and closeness to Christians under attack in Iraq. On 5 November, during Friday prayers, all the mosques in Kirkuk condemned the "barbaric attack" against the church in the capital. The mayor and the sheikh of the Arab, Kurds and Turkmen tribes, have expressed condolences and solidarity with the Chaldean archbishop of the city. The next day, the Sunni and Shiite imams of the northern Iraqi city also strongly condemned, alongside Archbishop Louis Sako, the carnage that killed over 50 people in Baghdad on Oct. 31. The Muslim religious leaders have been clamouring for the preservation of "the Iraqi mosaic" of ethnic groups and religions.

The same imam called for Muslims to protect Christians, who are a model of loyalty, "and launched an appeal for all the Iraqis do not succumb to fear and do not leave their country.

The violence in Iraq has accelerated the formation of a new Iraqi government, stalled eight months after the elections. According to government spokesman Ali al Dabbagh, an agreement for an executive of national unity is pending. It seems the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been reconfirmed, after gaining the support of the Sunni-Shiite secular Iraqiya Party led by rival former prime minister Iyad Allawi, and winner at the polls in March. The latter will "lead Parliament", as Speaker, while Jalal Talabani, of the Kurdish Alliance, will remain head of state. The U.S. has not yet confirmed the news, but is urging the Iraqi authorities to form a "inclusive" government.

Christians in Baghdad yesterday held the first mass in the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation after the massacre of 31 October. The interior was without any pews, down the length of the aisle hundreds of candles were laid on the ground, forming a large cross in the middle of which were placed the names of 46 victims of the massacre of the faithful on Sunday. ''Today we pray for those who have attacked, who attacked our church and killed our priests fathers Wassim and Thaher,'' said Father Mukhlas Habash in his homily, citing the names of two priests of 32 and 27 years of age killed seven days ago. Their smiling faces are displayed in posters on the blackened and bullet riddled walls of the cathedral.

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Source: Asia News

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