Iraq Churches Attacked Again

Threats renewed against Christian Peacemaker Teams workers.

Car bombs exploded near four Christian churches and the office of the Vatican envoy, killing three people January 29.

The blasts occurred under 30 minutes apart near two churches in Baghdad and two in Kirkuk. The fifth bomb exploded near the Vatican mission in Baghdad.

Three civilians were killed and one was wounded in the attack on the Church of the Virgin in Kirkuk, and six civilians were hurt in the blast outside an Orthodox church.

Car bombs exploded outside St. Joseph's Catholic Church and an Anglican church in Baghdad. There were no casualties reported in the attack on the Vatican embassy building in the east of the city.

No group claimed responsibility for the bombings, though suspicion fell on Islamic extremists who have been responsible for massive car bombings and suicide attacks against Iraqi Shi'ite civilians.

Senior Shi'ite lawmaker Ali al-Adeeb told the Associated Press the bombings were a reaction against Christians, whom terrorists believe support the U.S. military in Iraq. Al-Adeeb said, "Such acts are rejected by Shi'ites and Sunnis alike who have been living together with our Christian brothers in Iraq throughout history."

Christians, who make up less than 3 percent of Iraq's 27 million people, have been the target of recent violence. The Baghdad churches were similarly attacked in August and October 2004.

Group holding Christian Peacemakers renews threats

Kidnappers threatened to kill four Christian peace advocates if all Iraqi prisoners were not set free. The activists who were abducted in November were shown in a videotape broadcast January 28.

The video, which is dated January 21, showed the four men—a Briton, an American, and two Canadians—standing against a white wall. They were shown speaking, ...

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