Christians Targeted in Northern Iraq

A car bomb exploded in the early morning on Aug. 2 outside the Holy Family Syrian Catholic church in the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk, leaving at least 20 people injured. Police later defused two car bombs—one in front of a Christian school and another in front of a Presbyterian church. Louis Sako, the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, said that the blast set nearby cars on fire and damaged not only the church, but also about 30 surrounding homes. The archbishop visited the injured in the hospital. He said both Christians and Muslims were wounded in the attack. “We hope this is the last act of violence,” Archbishop Sako said. “Christians are sad and in shock” because such a sacred place and innocent people were targeted, he said, and “because Christians play no role in the political games” in Kirkuk—an oil-rich city rife with tensions between ethnic Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds.

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