04/05/2008, 00.00
IRAQ
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Syro-Orthodox priest killed in Baghdad

He was Youssef Adel, aged 40, director of a mixed Christian-Muslim school. He had been the target of threats and intimidation in an effort to make him quit. His funeral is tomorrow at the cathedral.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - A Syro-Orthodox priest was killed by gunfire today in Baghdad, in the Christian neighbourhood of Zayiuna.  The news is confirmed by sources of the same Orthodox Church.  The victim was Youssef Adel, aged 40, of the Church of Saint Peter.  According to the reconstruction of the attack, the priest was travelling in his car when around noon (local time) armed men opened fire.

The priest was the director of a high school that was attended by both Christians and Muslims, young men and young women.  He had been the target of threats and intimidation intended to drive him away from his post, but he did not pay any attention to them.  Recently he had celebrated a prayer meeting open to all Christians.  His funeral will be held tomorrow in the Syro-Orthodox Cathedral of Baghdad.

The attack this morning is only the latest in a series that have been striking at the heart of the Christian community in Iraq.  Not even a month ago, on March 13, the body of Faraj Rahho, the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, was found.  He had been kidnapped on February 29 by a terrorist group.

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