11/01/2010, 00.00
IRAQ-EGYPT

Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Baghdad attacks, threats to the Copts

An Iraqi group linked to Al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) claimed responsibility for the attack yesterday on a Catholic church, and threatens the Coptic Church of Egypt, giving a ultimatum of 48 hours to "free" two women who were converted to Islam.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An Iraqi group linked to Al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) claimed responsibility for the attack yesterday in an Eastern-rite Catholic church in Baghdad (where the faithful killed were 37, seven policemen and five terrorists) and also gave an ultimatum of 48 hours to the Coptic Church of Egypt, to free two wives of priests who (according to the terrorists) are "imprisoned in monasteries" because, they converted to Islam.

This according to reports from the American centre for monitoring Islamist websites SITE. "A group of angered Mujahideen among the faithful Allah - according to a statement from the terrorist group - has carried out a raid on one of the shelters of obscene idolatry, which had always been used by Christians of Iraq as a headquarters for the fight against the religion of Islam and which supports those who fight this religion. " The Islamic State of Iraq said the attack on the church, was "to help our poor Muslim sisters prisoners in the Muslim country of Egypt." The ISI has given the Egyptian Coptic Church 48 hours to free these women "imprisoned in infidel  monasteries of in idolatrous churches in Egypt."

According to SITE, the Iraqi terrorists in their threat to Egyptian Copts refer to two Coptic priests' wives, who are reportedly segregated in religious structures because one has apparently converted to Islam and the other would have expressed her intention to follow suit. The ISI posted an internet message attributed to the head of the suicide commandos in Baghdad that threatens Egyptian Christians and identifies the women as Camellia Shehata and Wafa Constantine.

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