04/27/2009, 00.00
IRAQ

Kirkuk: commando brigade attacks two Christian families, three killed

Today Louis Sako, the archbishop of Kirkuk, celebrated the funeral for the victims. The ceremony was attended by "the highest local authorities, and many Muslims," who demonstrated their "repugnance" for the new episodes of violence. Sources for AsiaNews speak of an "execution" with a "confessional" backdrop.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - Iraqi Christians are again in the sights of the Islamic fundamentalists. At 7:30 yesterday evening in Kirkuk, an armed commando brigade stormed two Christian homes, killing three people in cold blood. Yussef Saba, an employee of the Northern Oil Company, was killed in the first attack; the brigade also wounded two relatives of the victim, Bassel and Samer, who do not seem to have been seriously injured. Seven minutes later, the group broke into a second house, killing two women: Munna Dauod and Susan Latif.

The funeral for the victims was held today in the cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Kirkuk, and was celebrated by Louis Sako, the archbishop of the diocese. The prelate emphasizes that "the entire community of Kirkuk" participated in the funeral: "the authorities were present"at the ceremony, in addition to ordinary citizens, as well as "many representatives of the Muslim community," who demonstrated "their repugnance" for the new violence. The prelate condemns the terrorist attacks, which are aimed solely at "creating confusion" in the city, and "fostering a climate of fear" among Christians.

Adnan Abdullah, an Iraqi police official, explains that the attacks "took place a short distance from each other." Solidarity with the Christian community is being expressed by Iraqi vice president Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite Muslim, who calls upon Christians "not to leave the country," and asks the international community for "help and protection" against the extremists.

"Investigators are maintaining strict confidentiality on the proceedings," says an anonymous source for AsiaNews, and nothing has emerged "about the motives behind the attack." "The families did not have any special problems," the source continues, "and the way in which they were attacked looks like an execution. Nothing was stolen from the homes." According to the source, the Iraqi Christian community is "again in the crosshairs of the Islamic fundamentalists," who are planning and carrying out "premeditated attacks."

From Kirkuk, they explain that the families were already the victims of an attack, on the evening of Sunday, April 19. Exactly one week before yesterday's deadly raid. "It is a murder with a confessional backdrop," the source concludes, "in order to send a warning to the Christian community in Iraq."

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