08/15/2011, 00.00
IRAQ

Attack against Kirkuk’s St Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Church

A bomb exploded at around 1.30 am. No one was killed or injured, but the church was heavily damaged. The incident follows others against Kirkuk Christians in early August.
Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – A bomb exploded last night near the St Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Church in Kirkuk, which is just a few hundreds of metres from the Chaldean cathedral, in central part of the city. The device blew up at 1.30 am and there were no victims. The damages to the church were however huge (pictured).

Today’s incident is the latest in a string of attacks against Christians and their places of worship. On 2 August, a car bomb exploded in front of the Holy Family Syrian Catholic Church, wounding 15 people. The bomb had been placed inside a car, parked near the building.

On the same day, another bomb also placed in a car parked near a Presbyterian church was defused before it went off.

Islamic fundamentalists, who remain very active, as well as groups involved in local feuds, have targeted Iraqi Christians.

With a population of 900,000, Kirkuk is located in Iraq’s most important oil fields. For years, it has been embroiled in a political fight among various ethnic groups, most notably Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds. The latter would like to see Kirkuk’s region annexed to Kurdistan, whilst Arabs and Turkmen would like it to remain directly linked to Iraq’s central government.
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