10/05/2008, 00.00
IRAQ

Mosul, the relentless slaughter of Iraqi Christians

Two new attacks yesterday against the Christian community: the owner of a clothing store and a 15-year-old boy were killed. A source for AsiaNews denounces the climate of "panic" that fills the city, and the "indifference of the media," which have passed over the slaughter "in silence."

Mosul (AsiaNews) - A new attack against the Christians in Mosul: yesterday afternoon, an armed group assassinated Hazim Thomaso Youssif, age 40. The ambush took place in front of his clothing store in Bab Sarray; it is not yet known who ordered the killing, but it is suspected that it is the work of Islamic fundamentalists, in a city that has long been the theater of deadly attacks on the Christian community.

On the same day, 15-year-old Ivan Nuwya, also a Christian, was killed. The young man was shot to death in front of his home in the neighborhood of Tahrir, in front of the local mosque of Alzhara.

A source for AsiaNews in Mosul decries the "climate of panic" in which the Christian community lives, the slaughter of which continues "to the indifference" of the media, which "do not even report the crimes that are committed." Speaking of the situation in Mosul, the source emphasizes that the city "has become the holocaust of the Christians," and that there is no sign of improvement despite the efforts in the war on terror.

The diocese has been paying an increasingly large tribute of blood in recent years, beginning with the tragic kidnapping of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, whose lifeless body was found last March 13 in an abandoned area just outside of the city. During the ambush that preceded the archbishop's captivity, the three men acting as his bodyguard were massacred by the terrorists.

In 2007, the Iraqi Christian community suffered 47 deaths, 13 of them in Mosul: these include Fr Ragheed Gani, murdered on June 3, and two other priests.

Between January 6 and 17 of this year, there was also a series of attacks on Christian property. A wave of bombings struck the Chaldean church of the Immaculate Virgin, the Chaldean Church of St Paul, which was almost destroyed, the entrance to the orphanage run by the Chaldean sisters in al Nour, a Nestorian church, and the convent of the Dominican sisters in Mosul Jadida.

The last episode of violence dates back to September 2, when there was a tragic end to the kidnapping of a 65-year-old doctor, Tariq Qattan, who was killed in spite of the fact that his family had paid 250,000 dollars for his release. Two days before, another Christian, Nafi Haddad, had been kidnapped and killed. (DS)

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