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    » 03/20/2012, 00.00


    Series of attacks in Iraq, dozens of dead. Church of St Mathew in Baghdad targeted

    A bomb exploded near the Syrian-Orthodox church in the capital, killing two guards and wounding five others. Across the country there were over 20 explosions. AsiaNews sources: attacks to derail the upcoming Arab League summit. The violence set to continue.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Matthew, in Baghdad, is one of the objectives targeted by Iraqi extremists, who this morning carried out a series of attacks across the country to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion - March 20, 2003 - to overthrow Saddam Hussein Nasser. Church sources in Iraq asking for anonymity for safety reasons, told AsiaNews, that the two guards were killed in the attack, while five others were injured. Meanwhile, the provisional toll from the bomb attacks - in more than 20 explosions - in the capital, in Kirkuk, in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, and Hillah in Mahmoudiya is at least 39 dead and 200 wounded.

    AsiaNews sources in Iraq confirm "at least the 20 explosions" in different areas of the country, including the bombing of the church of St. Matthew, which "caused the death of two guards and wounded five other people." At present it is unclear if the place of Christian worship was the real target of the extremist. In Kirkuk, a city 300 km north of the capital, there were "three blasts that caused about 10 deaths and more than 40 wounded" in a neighborhood where the attackers "have targeted a police station."

    Reports speak of 13 other deaths and fifty wounded in Karbala, the Shiite holy city, where two car bombs exploded. More attacks were reported in Hillah, Latifuyah and other areas of Iraq, although currently there is no official news.

    The long trail of blood today marks the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion and is just the latest in a series of unending violence that mark a nation divided between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, and where Christians are often the victim of revenge caught in the crosshairs of power plays. From 2003 to December 2011, the date of complete withdrawal of U.S. troops, 4,550 U.S. soldiers have died and 300 allies. However, the real carnage regards the Iraqi civilian population, which has around 100 thousand casualties since the war began.

    Iraqi political experts interviewed by AsiaNews emphasize that today's attacks could be linked to the upcoming Arab League summit, to be held in Baghdad - for the first time since 1990 - between 27 and 29 March next. "There are nations - said the expert - who want to derail the summit, because the league is composed of a majority of Sunnis." Added to this is "the feast of Nawruz", the traditional celebration that marks the new year for Shiite and Kurdish communities. Born within the pre-Islamic era sacred to the Zoroastrians, it is now observed by many Sufi and Baha'i.

    The attackers, said the source, want to strike at key events and "we expect more attacks in the coming hours and days to come." Violence in Iraq "is not finished." (DS)


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    See also

    06/04/2006 JORDAN – IRAQ
    Iraqi Islamic Reconciliation Summit in Amman
    Religious leaders from many Middle Eastern countries will gather on April 22 in the Jordanian capital. They are expected to sign a declaration stating that fighting between Shiite and Sunnis in Iraq "has no legitimate religious basis."

    Some positive moves from Riyadh summit for Israel, not for Lebanon
    The Arab League summit opens tomorrow as acceptance for Saudi peace plan increases. UN secretary general is expected. Lebanon will be represented by two delegations, a remarkable sign of the country’s division. Iraq might announce new steps on the path of national reconciliation.

    20/03/2007 IRAQ
    Hanged: Ramadan, Saddam Hussein’s vice president
    The ex Iraqi vice president was put to put to death just dawn before morning, on the fourth anniversary of the US led invasion of the Country. He was condemned to death for the massacre of 148 Shiites in Dujail; the execution occurred “without violence”. For his son it was “political murder”.

    09/11/2005 IRAQ
    National reconciliation conference postponed
    Conference was called by Arab League for November 15. Doubts mount over the possibility of trying Saddam Hussein after second defence lawyer is killed.

    05/03/2007 LEBANON
    Beirut hopeful following Saudi-Iranian summit
    More and more people expect a solution to the political crisis. Saudis “guarantee” Syria that the international tribunal examining the Hariri assassination will only consider the criminal, not the political aspects of the case. Patriarch Sfeir calls on Christians not to create contrasts and divisions in vote to the Maronite League.

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