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» 08/15/2011
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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See also
01/09/2008 IRAQ
Car bombs against three churches in Kirkuk
10/13/2006 IRAQ
Some 500 people attend funeral of beheaded priest
01/11/2008 IRAQ
Imam of Kirkuk: attacks against Christians are “against Islam”
01/17/2005 IRAQ - VATICAN
Syrian Catholic Bishop of Mossul kidnapped
12/02/2010 IRAQ
Christian murdered in Mosul: bishops protest to Government

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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