» 10/16/2008, 00.00
Kurds and Arabs exchange accusations over attacks on Christians in Mosul
The government says it does not believe that al Qaeda is behind the killings. Condemnation of the attacks has also come from the the highest Shiite authority, grand ayatollah Ali Sistani.
Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Who is behind the attacks on Christians in Mosul? The Iraqi government says it does not believe that this is al Qaeda, while media sources note that most of the people struck lived in the area controlled by Kurdish militias. The Kurdish regional government denounces the "malign efforts" of those who want to "conceal the truly guilty," denounced as "religious fanatics," and "orders" all ministers to help those who have been struck.
The exchange of accusations over responsibility for the attacks against Christians in Mosul seems to confirm the at least predominantly political nature of what is taking place in a city that is at the center of Kurdish and "Arab" claims, in addition to being a region extremely rich in oil reserves. Condemnation of the attacks against Christians on the part of the highest Shiite authority, grand ayatollah Ali Sistani, seems to point in the same direction.
The spokesman for Baghdad's interior ministry, Abdulkarim Khalaf, says "I do not think al-Qaeda is behind the attacks against Mosul Christians." One of the leading Iraqi newspapers, Azzaman, in reporting the statements by the spokesman, notes that "Most of the victims and the fleeing refugees lived on the left bank of the city where Kurdish militias are in control as it is mainly a Kurdish-inhabited area. Most of the Christians on the right bank of the Tigris River, a predominately Arab sector, are reported to have preferred to stay. Anti-Christian violence has concentrated in areas where Kurdish militias exercise almost full control. But residents say an explosive charge placed at the entrance of an ancient church in the Arab quarter went off on Tuesday, inflicting some material damage but causing no injuries."
For its part, the Kurdish regional government accuses "religious fanatics and terrorists groups," and, the news agency AINA says, "has ordered all ministries, departments and relevant parties to assist and help the victims as much as possible." The Kurdish government also "forcefully condemns" the attacks and those who accuse the Kurds, and "we reiterate our support for the full rights of the Christians in provincial councils, under article 50 of the provincial election law." This is the norm that reserved representation at this level for the minorities, and which parliament, at the moment of approving the law, struck down. In the face of the protests of Christians and international criticisms, the president of the republic promised that the principle will be reintroduced.
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