01/17/2005, 00.00
IRAQ - VATICAN
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Syrian Catholic Bishop of Mossul kidnapped

Patriarch of Baghdad: "Pray that his life be saved"
Baghdad (AsiaNews) -- "They took him: we don't know where they took him.  We don't even know who kidnapped him."  These are the remarks made by His Beatitude Monsignor Emmanuel Delly on the kidnapping of the Syrian Catholic bishop of Mossul, Monsignor Basile Georges Casmoussa.   It was Monsignor Delly himself, Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, to break the news to the Vatican and the world.  "The incident, " he told AsiaNews, "took place this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. local time.  All we know is that a car pulled up to him and took him: they loaded him into the trunk and drove away."   The Catholic hierarchy immediately set to work to activate channels with various communities in order to contact the kidnappers.  "We are doing everything possible to free him", says His Beatitude, "but we have yet to discover who abducted him".  Furthermore, there is no clear motive for the kidnapping: "Not only Christians are being targetted.  In recent months, terrorists have also kidnapped numerous Sunni, Shi'ite and even Mazdean (Zoroastrian) authorities.  I think they want to destabilize things in view of the elections.  By aiming higher and higher, they push the tension higher and higher.  Please pray that they spare his life."   Monsignor Basile Georges Casmoussa was born in 1938 in Karakoche, northern Iraq.  He received episcopal consecration in the Syrian Catholic Church in December 1999.  There are about 50,000 Syrian Catholics in Iraq.
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