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» 01/11/2012 15:11
IRAQ
Attack against the Chaldean Archbishop’s Palace in Kirkuk
by Joseph Mahmoud
Bishop Sako and his aides are safe. The terrorists were from Baghdad. Two are killed and one arrested. Their target was a Turkmen member of parliament whose home is near the Archbishop’s Palace. Sunni-Shia tensions rise.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – At 1.15 pm, two people opened fire against security guards standing in front of the walls that surround the Chaldean Archbishop’s Palace in Kirkuk. Terrorists fired from a white Kia car. The guards fired back immediately. Officers in a police car located about 100 metres from the building also intervened, firing at the terrorists. Two terrorists were killed and one was arrested. Five policemen were wounded.

No one inside the building was wounded. The bishop, who had just returned with a priest after visiting Holy Mary the Virgin Parish Church, was unharmed

No reason has been given for the attack, but police suggest that Jala Niftaji, a Turkmen member of the Iraqi parliament, might have been the target. Her home was attacked three days ago.

Preliminary reports suggest that the terrorists were not from Kirkuk. Identity papers found on the two who were killed indicate they lived in Baghdad.

“The killers could not be from here,” a source in Kirkuk told AsiaNews. “The Archbishop’s Palace is located on a central street, near the Governor’s house. It is well protected with soldiers and police. How could they think that they could carry out the attack? It is obvious they were not well prepared. Their ignorance is also evident from the fact that they fired at the Archbishop’s Palace even though they wanted to attack the home of the Turkmen leader.”

Ms Jala Niftaji is a member of the Iraqi Nationalist List party of Iyad Allawi. For weeks, the party has been at loggerheads with Prime Minister al Maliki and his predominantly Shia party.

Across the country, the situation is worrisome. A power vacuum has developed after al Maliki issued an arrest warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, for allegedly funding terrorist groups.

Al-Hashemi has rejected all the accusations, and fled to the north, to Iraqi Kurdistan. His party, the Iraqi National Movement (al-Iraqiya List) has been boycotting parliament, accusing al Maliki of trying to monopolise power.

Many analysts fear that the crisis could lead to civil war (see Youssouf al-Bakhtiar, “The conflict between Shiites and Sunnis for the sectarian division of Iraq,” in AsiaNews, 10 January 2012).

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See also
07/29/2008 IRAQ
Archbishop Sako: in Kirkuk, "shameful" acts against the country's "fragile" recovery
07/18/2011 IRAQ
Kirkuk: Christians, Muslims and ethnic groups together for a new Iraq
by Joseph Mahmoud
05/15/2007 IRAQ
Kirkuk oil behind anti-Kurdish suicide bombings
11/22/2012 IRAQ
Power struggle in Kirkuk elicits archbishop's appeal for peace and dialogue
by Joseph Mahmoud
06/01/2009 IRAQ
Iraqi Kurdistan begins exporting “its” oil

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

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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