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» 11/12/2008 12:53
IRAQ
New anti-Christian attack in Mosul, two sisters killed
Eyewitnesses say the gang that carried out the attack was made up of men ranging in age from 16 to 18. Attackers killed the young women in cold blood then placed a bomb at the entrance of their house, killing two policemen when it went off. Sources tell AsiaNews that the violence is tied to an ongoing “power struggle” ahead of upcoming provincial council elections.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – Mosul Christians have been attacked again today. A group of armed men stormed a house in the Alqahira neighbourhood where they killed two sisters in what amounts to targeting killing. After entering the building the gunmen shot the two young women in cold blood and wounded their mother with a knife. At present she is in hospital but her conditions are not serious. The husband and the son were able to escape at the start of the attack.

The victims are Lamia Sobhy Salloha and Walàa Sobhy Salloha, both from the Syro-Catholic Church of Mosul. The two young women were employed by the Office of the Treasurer of the Municipality of Wala.

According to eyewitnesses the attack was carried out by a gang of 16-to18-year olds who after attacking the residents of the house placed a bomb at the entrance and detonated it when a group of police agents came to the scene, killing two and wounding others.

A source told AsiaNews that “youth gangs from poor families” were involved in the incident but that behind them there is “a criminal organisation” that is doing everything to drive Christians out of the city.

“It is over power and the next election to provincial councils and minority representation, which might be decisive for the balance between Arabs and Kurds,” said the source.

Urged by the United Nations, the government had promised to put art. 50 back into a draft law to guarantee minorities 15 seats out of 440 (13 for Christians). But on 3 November parliament passed the bill without doing so, which later received the necessary sanction by the Presidency Council to become law with only one seat set aside for Mosul Christians. The parliament’s decision has embittered the leaders of the Iraqi Church who slammed the blatant violation of the constitution which should ensure equal rights for all citizens.

“We don’t trust anyone. Both Arabs and Kurds promised to help us but so far we have not seen anything concrete,’ the source told AsiaNews. Today’s attack was “another warning by those who want to force Christians into the Niniwa Plains.”

In recent days more than 700 families had decided to come back to Mosul after local authorities promised to provide them with greater protection. This targeted killing “will push Christians to flee again” and threats of new attacks and violence will continue to hang over the few who remain.

“It is all a political game but it is Christians who are the losers,” said the source.

Today’s attack is but the last in a series of acts of violence against Mosul’s Christian community which has been targeted by Islamic fundamentalists and armed gangs alike.

Since the start of October, 16 people have died and 2,000 families (about 12,000 people) have left the city.

Matters had begun to get better in recent days, hence the decision of 700 families to come back; however, today’s attack will cast an even greater shadow on the fate of Iraq’s Christian community. (DS)


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See also
06/06/2008 IRAQ
Iraq’s Christian cultural heritage belongs to all, let us save it!
by + Louis Sako
01/19/2010 IRAQ
Mosul: targeted execution of Christians continues in media and government silence
11/11/2009 IRAQ
Kurdish guns threaten to bring a new humanitarian catastrophe to Iraqi minorities
by Layla Yousif Rahema
12/09/2009 IRAQ
Baghdad massacre “barbaric and reckless” response to election deal, bishop says
10/16/2008 IRAQ
Kurds and Arabs exchange accusations over attacks on Christians in Mosul

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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