07/06/2010, 00.00
IRAQ
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Another Christian killed in Mosul

by Layla Yousif Rahema
Behnam Sabti, a Syrian Orthodox, was killed yesterday by a bomb placed under his car. The man worked as a nurse at the state Jumhuriya hospital in Mosul. According to anonymous sources the motive of the murder is his religious identity.

Mosul (AsiaNews) - The agony continues for the Christian community of Mosul, the most dangerous city in Iraq. Yesterday July 5, in a targeted attack yet another Christian was killed. 54 year old Syrian Orthodox, Behnam Sabti worked as a nurse at the Jumhuriya state hospital of Mosul. A bomb fixed under his car exploded while the man was driving, killing him instantly. Local sources, anonymous for security reasons, tell AsiaNews, they are convinced that the motive of the murder was the man’s "religious identity". Married with three children, he will be buried in Bashiqa Kemal, his native village in the north.

According to the latest data, released in late June by the Iraqi ministries for Defence, Health and the Interior, violence has declined on a national scale. Nevertheless, people are still despondent and living in fear. The number of Iraqis killed violently, in June, fell to 284 compared with 437 the same month in 2009.

If Iraq is experiencing a political stalemate due to protracted negotiations on forming a new government after March 7 elections, Mosul faces "a real security vacuum", sources tell AsiaNews. In what is now the “Al Qaeda stronghold in Mesopotamia ", two types of violence take place, terrorism directed against the locals - mostly Shia - and minorities, and jihadist violence targeting American troops and their allies of the Iraqi security forces.

The streets of Mosul are patrolled by the U.S. military, about 18 Iraqi army battalions are deployed throughout the city, along with hundreds of police and checkpoints. Nevertheless, the situation remains highly uncertain, as revealed by the same American officials. And the problems "will increase when the U.S. completes the withdrawal," says Didar Abdulla al-Zibari, a member of the local provincial council.

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