Baghdad (AsiaNews) - "Only lies, a superficial move" to make it appear to the public and the international community that the new Iraqi government is working to ensure the security of minority religious communities, while people are still forced to emigrate because of the lack security. From Baghdad to Mosul, this is the reaction of the Christian community to the arrest of a dozen terrorists responsible for the attack on the church of Our Lady of Salvation in the capital on October 31.
Last Nov. 27 it was announced that Iraqi security forces had captured an al-Qaeda leader and eleven of his men, involved in several attacks in the capital. He is Hudhaifa al-Battawi, military commander of al-Qaeda in Mansour, in western Baghdad. The news was reported by Iraqiya state television, quoting General Ahmed Abu Rgheif.
The operation, said the broadcaster, was conducted Nov. 24, although it was only made public three days later. The 12 arrested have admitted their responsibility for a series of attacks, including the hostage-taking in the Baghdad church which ended with the death of 57 people. Among other attacks attributed to the group there are those of the past month against the central bank, the offices of al-Arabiya satellite television and against some jewellery stores.
During the operation new plans were discovered to target four buildings with car bombs, landmines and explosive vests and six tons of explosives and some barrels of toxic substances were seized.
But news of the arrest has not reassured the Christian community, which has been seeking protection and justice from the central government. "It's a sham, they had said that the terrorists were all killed during the raid to free hostages in the church!" Commented some Christians who have emigrated from the capital, after the latest escalation of violence against the minority community.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of families are seeking refuge in the north after the explosions that targeted their homes in neighbourhoods inhabited by Christians, and the threat of al-Qaida to eliminate Christians from Iraq. 85 have arrived in Sulaimaniya from the capital, the figure has doubled in just one week.