11/16/2006, 00.00
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Bomb against Dominican church in Mosul

The blast took place on November 1 destroying the entrance to the friars' church. No one was hurt. The situation for Christians is getting worse. After a Syro-Orthodox priest was decapitated many clergymen are afraid of wearing clerical robes, but prayers are encouraging hope. "It's our duty not to despair".

Mosul (AsiaNews) – "Prayer still encourages our hopes in Mosul," a local source told AsiaNews, this despite the rising tide of violence that is especially touching Christians. The same sources confirmed the information that an attack was perpetrated against the compound of the Dominican friars on All Saints' Day when a bomb exploded in the entrance of the congregation's church.

A source near the church at the time of the November 1 said that the explosion at 7 pm shattered the exterior iron doors of the Dominican Clock Church compound and flattened two sets of wood doors. The discharge ripped through the windows of the monastery chapel where Dominican priests were holding evening prayer, but no one was harmed in the blast.

In 2004 other attacks against Christian targets were also carried out to coincide with Christian religious holidays like the Feast of the Assumption and Christmas.

AsiaNews's sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the "very dangerous situation in which Christians live in Mosul".

The Dominicans believe the attack was not a random attack. "You don't set off a blast that big unless you are planning something more," he said.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mosul's Clock Church was built in 1872 but the Dominican order has been established in Iraq for more than 250 years.

Priests from Mosul said they no longer wear their clerical robes on the street and rarely go out in public to reduce the chances of being kidnapped or even murdered, which are a daily occurrence.

People are still shaken by the abduction of a Syro-Orthodox priest, Fr Paulos Eskandar, whose decapitated body was found on October 11 in the east of Mosul two days after he was kidnapped.

Most Mosul Dominicans have moved to a village just outside Arbil, in the more peaceful Kurdistan, but there are still some who are able to find "in prayer the necessary hope to continue a difficult apostolic ministry in this tormented city".

"It's our duty not to despair," said one priest. "God will hear our pleas for peace in Iraq."

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See also
First Christian militia set up in village near Nineveh
In Mosul 81 children meet the challenge of their First Communion
Poverty and unemployment among northern Christians
Constitutional talks to begin homestretch
Kurdistan: a thousand peshmerga deployed along the Iranian border


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