Bomb attacks on Christians kill 37

Last updated 00:57 26/12/2013

Relevant offers

Middle East

Elle magazine branded 'obscene' as Turkey bans sales to kids Tomb of Jesus reopens to public after US$4 million restoration Conflicting accounts over mass deaths in Iraq as battle rages on Yemenis protest on second anniversary of Saudi intervention Taken hostage in Iraq by Saddam Hussein, I hadn't returned - until now Australia selling military equipment to Saudi Arabia during brutal Yemen conflict Free WiFi and meditation as airlines grapple with laptop ban US-Israeli teen arrested over bomb threats to Jewish centres in NZ, US and Australia Families of September 11 attack victims sue Saudi Arabia US drone kills militant blamed for attack on Sri Lanka cricket team in Pakistan

Militants in Iraq targeted Christians in two separate bomb attacks in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 37 people, officials said.

In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church during Christmas Mass in the capital's southern Dora neighbourhood, killing at least 26 people and wounding 38, a police officer said.

A little bit earlier, a bomb ripped through an outdoor market in the nearby Christian section of Athorien, killing 11 people and wounding 21, the officer added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Iraq's dwindling Christian community, which is estimated to number about 400,000 to 600,000 people, has often been targeted by al-Qaida and other insurgents who see the Christians as unbelievers.

Along with Christians, other targets include civilians in restaurants, cafes or crowded public areas, as well as Shiites and also members of the Iraqi security forces, who are targeted in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led government and stir up Iraq's already simmering sectarian tensions.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to talk to the media.

Wednesday's bombings came amid a massive military operation in Iraq's western desert as authorities try to hunt down insurgents who have stepped up attacks across Iraq in the past months, sending violence to levels not seen since 2008.

The Christmas Day attacks brought the total number of people killed so far this month in Iraq to 441. According to UN estimates, more than 8000 people have been killed since the start of the year.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content