06/03/2007, 00.00
IRAQ
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A Chaldean priest and three deacons killed in Mosul

Fr Ragheed Ganni, 34, was hit by gunfire in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit. Three deacons, who served as his aides, were also killed.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – An armed group gunned down and killed Fr Ragheed Ganni and three of his aides. The murder took place right after Sunday mass in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul where Father Ragheed was parish priest. Sources told AsiaNews that hours later the bodies were still lying in the street because no one dared retrieve them. Given the situation tensions in the area remain high.

For some time since the fall of Saddam Hussein Christians have become victims of what amounts to an open campaign of persecution often denounced by Chaldean and Orthodox bishops.

Father Ragheed himself had been targeted several times in previous attacks. The Church of the Holy Spirit has also been repeatedly attacked and bombed in the last few years, the last time occurred but a few months ago.

Father Ganni was a great friend of AsiaNews. He had studied in Italy and was fluent in Arabic as well as Italian, French and English. In 2005 he had visited Italy where he gave testimony during the Vigil to Eucharistic Congress in Bari.

(Photo: Father Ragheed, first left, participating in a priestly ordination in Mosul).

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