Mosul (AsiaNews) – Explosive devices were detonated this morning at two Christian sites in Mosul, the Church of Saint Ephrem and the Mother House of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine. At present, there are no reports about casualties but the church was entirely destroyed. The convent also suffered damages but it is not known how much. Christian sources in Mosul told AsiaNews that the “attack was like a Mafia warning”, a message to Christians “to get out of the city.”
At around 10 am, a commando of about ten gunmen stormed the Church of Saint Ephrem in the al-Jadida neighbourhood, in a new section of the city. Attackers told everyone inside to leave and then calmly proceeded to place explosives around the building. When they were set off the whole structure was levelled. The same thing happened to the Bishop’s Palace in December 2004.
According to early reports, no one among the faithful was hurt in the blast.
After the first operation, the attackers moved to the Mother House of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine, where a second explosion was heard around 10.30 am. For the moment, there are no details about the damages inflicted on the building or any casualties among the nuns.
Sources in Mosul told AsiaNews that the attacks were the work “of a group of about ten people who acted calmly.”
The area is under the control of Sunni Arabs and had not seen any major act of violence until now.
“We received threats and episodes of intimidation but nothing major,” a Christian source said.
This morning’s attacks resemble “the series of attacks that hit Mosul’s Christian community in the past.”
Local sources suggest that Kurds might be involved in the action in order to get Christians out of the area and into the “Nineveh Plain.”
“There is a lot of fear among the people because those who carried out the attack acted unimpeded and without opposition,” the anonymous source said.
In fact, it is more than just fear. A sense of “anger and disillusionment against the local and national governments is growing. It is the latest attack and latest disillusionment for Christians who feel abandoned.” (DS)