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Kidnappers Demand Huge Ransom for Iraqi Bishop

Armed men seeking to intimidate Christian community had threatened church leader.

Kidnappers are demanding a huge ransom for a Chaldean Archbishop abducted last week in northern Iraq, sending fear through the country's Christian community, a local priest said.

Since the Friday (February 29) kidnapping in Mosul, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho's captors have refused to decrease the amount of money they are demanding for his release, according to Father Najeeb Mikhail.

"They want money, but in addition they want to break all the Christians in Mosul," the priest said in a telephone conversation from Erbil.

Unknown armed men stopped Rahho, 65, at about 5:30 p.m. as he was leaving the Holy Spirit parish in Mosul, 225 miles north of Baghdad. The bishop had just finished leading the congregation in praying the Stations of the Cross and was returning to his home with his driver and two bodyguards.

According to Christian Iraqi website Ankawa.com, eyewitnesses said that four cars blocked Rahho's vehicle. Armed men shot and killed driver Faris Gorgis Khoder and the two guards, identified ...

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