A car bomb exploded outside a Catholic church in central Kirkuk, Iraq, early Tuesday, wounding at least 20 people, authorities said.
The attack took place in Kirkuk’s Shatterlo neighborhood around 5:30 a.m. (10:30 p.m. Monday ET), according to a police official who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Anti-Christian violence in Iraq left 92 dead and 47 wounded in 2010, making the year the worst to date for the Christian minority, according to the human-rights group Hammurabi.
Hammurabi reports that all of Iraq’s Christian churches have been badly hurt by violence and by the emigration of families leaving the country to find security elsewhere. More than 800 Christians have been killed in the years since the start of the US-lead military intervention.
Nevertheless the group found that the Christians remaining in Iraq who a strong sense of commitment. On July 4 the Chaldean Catholic Partiarch Emmanuel III paid a courtesy call on Ali al Sistani, Iraqi’s leading Shi’ite cleric, to demonstrate ‘the unity of Iraq and of Iraqis, Muslims and Christians.”
His body was mutilated. His head was nearly severed off. He was tortured before he was executed, according to the Kirkuk police. His eyes were gouged out, his ears were cut off and his faced was skinned. There also were signs of dog bites on the body.
Mr. Jacob is survived by his wife and three children.
He was an Assyrian construction worker.
His body was found like this:
I have no words. How someone can be so cruel against another human being escapes my understanding. But that the reason is just that he believes in other religion is horrible. Plainly horrible.
The world remains silent before the abyss…
Photo: found at AINA.org.
- Iraq: Christian beheaded by his kidnappers (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)
Pope Benedict XVI has established a Chaldean Catholic eparchy in Canada, and appointed Archbishop Hanna Zora as its first bishop.
The establishment of a new ecclesiastical jurisdiction reflects the continued emigration of Chaldean Catholics from Iraq and Iran. There are now nearly 40,000 Chaldeans living in Canada, many of them having fled Iraq in the past decade. Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq, told Vatican Radio that while Chaldeans there welcomed the news of the new eparchy, “we are a little saddened by the continuing exodus from our land, where the Church has been present since the 5th century.”
A leaked file says that Jawad Jabber Sadkhan, an Iraqi intelligence officer who moved to Afghanistan in 1998, “admittedly forged official documents and reportedly provided liaison between the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq.” The government of Afghanistan at that time was the Taliban, which employed him as a vicious interrogator for its intelligence service. His driver said he was also close to Osama Bin Laden, who paid him before and after the 9/11 attacks. Another detainee revealed that Sadkhan would travel to Iraq through Iran to retrieve supplies for the Taliban. Sadkhan was not universally popular, as his superior, Abdul-Hadi al-Iraqi, warned Saif al-Adel in November 1998 that he was part of a group of Iraqis “involved in un-Islamic activities.” This accusation did not end the relationship.
According to another detainee named Abbas Habid Rumi al-Naely, Sadkhan was a member of one of Saddam Hussein’s top units tasked with assassinating political opponents. The U.S. government also identified al-Naely as a liaison between Saddam Hussein’s regime and Al-Qaeda. He joined the Taliban in 1994 while living in Baghdad. One U.S. government memo shows he was accused of preparing attacks on the U.S. and British embassies in Pakistan in August 1998 with an Iraqi intelligence officer on the orders of Osama Bin Laden. Later memos did not include the charge.
Of course, you’re not going to read this in any major MSM.
Iraqi police are reporting a new attack on Christians in Baghdad by gunmen who broke into the home of an elderly couple and killed them.It was the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s Christian minority, which has been fleeing the country in droves since an Oct. 31 assault on a Catholic church that killed 68.
Police said four gunmen raided the home in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood Sunday evening and repeatedly shot the couple with silenced pistols before escaping. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.
AINA Update: the daughter of the elderly couple was also killed in the same attack.
But this hasn’t been the only attack against Christians in Iraq in recent weeks:
Anti-Christian violence and persecution continue in Iraq. Two days after a Christian home was attacked in Mosul (northern Iraq), two Iraqi Christians were killed in the city’s Sina’a neighbourhood.
Sources told AsiaNews that unknown thugs entered a store owned by two Christian brothers, Saad and Waad (Raad) Hanna, 43 and 40 respectively, and shot them in cold blood. Waad died instantly, Saad, two hours later.
On Monday evening, police found an elderly Christian woman strangled in her home in central Mosul.
The attacks on Christians started October 31 in Baghdad have extended to the northern parts of the country, such as Mosul.
Last week, a bomb attached to the vehicle of a Christian man detonated in eastern Mosul, killing him and his 6-year-old daughter, local police told CNN.
The November 16 attack came one day after two Christian men in adjacent homes were killed after gunmen stormed their houses.
Also on November 15, a bomb detonated outside a Christian home. It caused damages but no injuries.
“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.
- Iraq: Gunmen take church-goers hostage after killing 2 at stock exchange.
- Iraq: 10 Catholics killed, 30 wounded after security forces stormed Baghdad church (UPD).
- Iraq: Pope Sends Message to Syriac Archbishop of Baghdad.
- Iraq: All Christians are targets, Al Qaeda says.
- Salim Mansur: “We have a deadly silence of the Muslim leadership”.
- Incipient genocide: the ethnic cleasing of the Assyrians of Iraq.
- Iraq: Five Christians killed and 20 wounded.
- Iraq’s Christians unimportant in global politics.
- Why hasn’t Obama addressed the Christian persecution in Muslim countries?
- Religious freedom: the ACN Report is released.
The 2010 Report on Religious Freedom in the World by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) was released yesterday in Rome. It shows that the situation is serious in many parts of the world, particularly in Asia. In the Near East, Iraq represents an especially bad case where anti-Christian violence is taking on the form of systematic persecution, as the latest episodes indicate. In Egypt, despite the fact that it is a major tourist destination, there have been many acts of violence against the Christian minority in 2009-2010. Lebanon shows how difficult it is for foreign religious staff to enter the country. The situation of Christians in Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is getting worse with episodes of explicit persecution.
In India, ethnic and religious violence is rising as well. The year 2009 clearly illustrated the problem. However, China is certainly among those nations where religious freedom is denied in all its facets. However, information about what happens in that nation remains limited and hard to obtain. The state is officially atheist and suppresses all form of religion through arrests and detention in concentration camps. The case of Mgr Julius Jia Zhiguo is one of the better known. The underground bishop of Zhengding (Hebei) was arrested by five police officers on 30 March 2009; he was eventually released 15 months later.
In Pakistan, the blasphemy law is used as weapon against religious minorities, especially Christians who are the victims of Muslim fundamentalism. In Afghanistan, the government is not able to ensure effective religious freedom. In Bangladesh, where Islam is also the state religion, several cases of discrimination and attacks against minorities have been recorded with security forces showing little interest in protecting them.
When I find the report in English I will post the link here. It’s necessary that these facts are reported and really known outside those countries.
Final death toll here. “On Oct. 31, Thomas’ brother-in-law bled to death on the church floor after militants stormed the building, shot congregants in the first row, held others hostage and then set off bombs when Iraqi forces came to the rescue. Then Wednesday morning, two bombs went off in quick succession outside his home. “We are terrified,” Thomas said, who sought refuge with his family Wednesday at the church. “I cannot go back to my house. They will attack again. They want to kill us.“
Three dead and 26 injuries is the provisional death toll from a series of attacks against Christian homes this morning in different districts of Baghdad. Between 6 and 8 this morning, two mortar shells and dozens of homemade bombs exploded in front of the homes of the faithful.Last night in the capital three other Christian houses were hit by bombs, without causing any victims. Despite this, the Prime Minister al Maliki is urging Christians not to abandon the country.
The latest attacks come only 10 days after the October 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation, and after threats from Al Qaeda to eliminate Christians from the Middle East. The attack on the parish killed 44 faithful, two priests and seven security guards. About 90 people were injured. Of these, the first group (37, to be followed by those remaining) arrived in France on Nov. 8 to receive treatment offered by the European nation, the only one to propose such support. Continue reading
Assyrians are the only autochthonous people of Iraq, having lived in their ancestral lands in north Iraq since 5000 B.C. Assyrians are Christians, belonging to three main denominations: The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Chaldean Church of Babylon. The native language of Assyrians is neo-Syriac (neo-Aramaic). This distinct identity of Assyrians, especially their Christian faith, sets them apart from the rest of the population.
Assyrians comprised 8% (1.5 million) of the Iraqi population in April of 2003. Since then 50% have fled the country. Of the 750,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan up to 150,000 are Assyrians. Of the 1.2 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, 70,000 to 500,000 are Assyrians.
From 1995 to 2010 385 Assyrians were killed. For the years 1995-2002 there were 19 murders, averaging 2.37 per year. After the liberation of Iraq in 2003, the average number of murders for the years 2003-2010 was 55, 2316% higher than for the years 1995-2002. The geographic distribution of the murders was 39.85% in north Iraq, 58.17% in central Iraq and 1.98% in south Iraq. Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites and al-Qaeda engaged in murdering Assyrians. Examples included: Continue reading
All Christians in the Middle East are now “legitimate targets,” al Qaeda in Iraq announced Wednesday, as the group’s deadline for Egypt’s Coptic church to release alleged Muslim female prisoners expired.
An audio message released Monday gave the church 48 hours to disclose the status of Muslim women it said are imprisoned in Coptic churches in Egypt.
The message purportedly came from the Islamic State of Iraq, which claimed responsibility for an attack on a Baghdad church Sunday that killed 58 people and wounded 75. The umbrella group includes a number of Sunni extremist organizations and has ties to al Qaeda in Iraq. Continue reading
Well, I am a really Angry Catholic Infidel after reading what you’re about to read and it’s probable than you finish the post, you are angry too. The post is a bit long, so I apologize in advance.
Deeply moved by the violent deaths of so many faithful and of the reverend priests Tha’ir Saad and Boutros Wasim, I wish, on the occasion of the Sacred Rite of funerals, to participate spiritually, while praying that these brothers and sisters be accepted into the mercy of Christ in the House of the Father.
For years this beloved country has suffered untold hardships and even Christians have become the subject of brutal attacks that, in total disregard of life, an inviolable gift from God, want to undermine trust and peaceful coexistence. Continue reading
Iraqi security forces have sealed off the area surrounding the Sayidat al-Nejat church, the officials said. They do not know how many people are inside. At least 13 hostages, including two children, managed to escape, police said.
The gunmen are demanding that the Iraqi government release a number of detainees and prisoners inside Iraqi prisons, saying the Christian hostages will be freed in return, according to the police officials. Continue reading
Those who visit the Arabic countries of the Persian Gulf can easily recognize the elevation of sectarian tension between the Muslims of Sunni tradition and the Muslims of Shiaa tradition. It is the era of strife among Shiaa and Sunni. The Sunnis are the majority in the Gulf, and other Arab countries as well, while the Shiaas are the second largest denomination of Islam in the region; they are even the majority in some Arab countries such as Iraq and Bahrain.
The Sunnis are backed by their religious head, Saudi Arabia lead by the Wahhabist conservative regime (Wahhabism is a particular orientation within Salafism). The Shiaas are influenced by their Shiaa-Iconic regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Mullahs regime that launched “The Shiaa Revival” with its Iranian Revolution three decades ago. Iran is now accused of imposing its political and religious agenda on non-Iranian Shiaas, causing conflict in their own countries, and also influencing Sunnis as well.
Throughout the Arabian Gulf countries, one phenomenon is found: Imams are loudly swearing to – both inside and outside their mosques – the fundamental basics of the Shiaa tradition. At the same time, many books have recently been released that are against the Shiaa tradition.Those books are freely available to the public. An analyst from the region told me in confidence that this phenomenon is a “Wahabist invasion of the Gulf countries”. The Sunnis have started to call the Shiaas as rawafid (Rejectionists and perhaps dissidents) The Shiaa have started to call the Sunni as Nawasib (Have intentional hostility against Imam Ali).These words are derogatory, stereotypical, and highly provocative.
A quiet but steady hemorrhaging of Iraq’s ancient Christian presence is underway and little is being doWritten threats, kidnappings, bombings and murder by Muslim extremists are driving thousands of Iraq’s minority Christian population out of their ancestral homeland, fleeing for safety to neighboring Jordan and Syria.ne to stem the flow.
“The Christians are experiencing an absence of leadership,” explained Hala Hikmat, a recent arrival from Baghdad who has joined thousands of her countrymen in Syria. “We have no leaders who are communicating our urgent needs to the authorities, so consequently each person has to take care of themselves.” Their urgent needs, as expressed by Hikmat, are for protection and for a stand to be taken on Christians’ behalf.
A string of church bombings in August and September sent anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 Christians fleeing the country, according to estimates by Iraqi government and church officials. And they admit that hundreds more families out of Iraq’s 750,000 Christians are leaving each week.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) disputes these figures, saying they are too high. But UNHCR offices in Amman and Damascus admit that it is hard to know exactly how many Iraqi Christians are currently in Jordan and Syria.
Of the 4,000 Iraqi families officially registered as refugees with the agency in Damascus, more than half are Christians. It is believed that there are larger numbers of Iraqis in Syria because it is cheaper to live there than in Jordan. Iraqi Christians also said they have stronger cultural and spiritual ties to Syria. Syrian authorities estimate there are about 300,000 Iraqis in the country.
The daughter of an al-Qaeda in Iraq militant who forced her mother into marriage and motherhood, then disappeared, Zahraa is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children whose births amid the anarchy and insurgent violence of Iraq were never legally recorded.Without the paperwork to prove that she is the child of an Iraqi man and that her parents were joined in a legitimate marriage before her birth, Zahraa and others like her have no rights as Iraqi citizens, legal experts say. They do not have birth certificates, passports or national identification cards and will be unable to go to school or hold a government job.These children, a little-noticed legacy of more than seven years of war, are paying for the sins of their fathers.“It’s dangerous because in the future they might hurt the society that hurt them,” said Ahmed Jassim, director of the Nour Foundation, a nongovernmental organization working to improve the lives of the militants’ offspring in the northeastern Iraqi province of Diyala.The children are products of a time when al-Qaeda in Iraq controlled large swaths of the nation after the U.S.-led invasion. The legal system broke down, institutions stopped functioning and an insurgency raged. Some Sunni Muslim communities gave sanctuary to the men, Iraqi and foreign Arabs, believing they would help rid them of a foreign army. But al-Qaeda in Iraq quickly grew brutal, overpowered other Iraqi insurgent groups, declared an Islamic state and enforced a severe form of Islamic law.…Officials in the Interior Ministry tasked with assisting victims of the Iraq war said the women are not considered victims of rape and, although the situation is unfortunate, there is nothing they can do.“Helping them could encourage al-Qaeda in Iraq,” said Fadhil al-Shweilli, a ministry official who deals with victims of war.Legal experts said the easiest solution would be to give the children to orphanages or forge their birth certificates with the name of a fake father.
Qods forces in Afghanistan are working through nongovernmental organizations and political opposition groups, the report says. Tehran also is backing insurgent leaders Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ismail Khan.
“Arms caches have been recently uncovered [in Afghanistan] with large amounts of Iranian-manufactured weapons, to include 107 millimeter rockets, which we assess IRGC-QF delivered to Afghan militants,” the report says, noting that recent manufacture dates on the weapons suggest the support is “ongoing.”
“Tehran’s support to the Taliban is inconsistent with their historic enmity, but fits with Iran‘s strategy of backing many groups to ensure that it will have a positive relationship with the eventual leaders,” the report says.
In Iraq, Qods forces are supporting terrorists through Iranian embassies. The report says the outgoing Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, is a member, as well as the new ambassador in Baghdad, Hassan Danafar.
Iranian support for Shi’ite militants in Iraq has included the supply of armor-piercing explosively formed projectiles, as well as other homemade bombs, anti-aircraft weapons, rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and explosives.
The report says the elite Iranian fighters are controlled by Iran’s government, despite efforts by the group to mask Tehran’s control.
Complete report here (PDF).
Background: Iran increasing Qods’ force in Venezuela.
Two terrorists, who were two of the most wanted men, were killed two days ago:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the killings of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri at a news conference and showed photographs of their bloody corpses. U.S. military officials later confirmed the deaths, which Vice President Joe Biden called a “potentially devastating blow” to al-Qaida in Iraq.
The organization has proven resilient in the past, showing a remarkable ability to change tactics and adapt — most notably after its brutal founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed nearly four years ago in a U.S. airstrike. Still, some analysts contend, the group was far stronger then and would likely have a harder time now replenishing its leadership and sticking to a timetable of attacks.
Another terrorist was killed yesterday: Ahmed al-Obeidi.
Iraqi authorities have uncovered plans by Al-Qaeda to fly hijacked planes into the country’s Shiite mosques in Iraq, a US counter-terrorism official said on Wednesday.
But it remained unclear how far the plot had advanced, the official said.
“There are indications that such a plot was, in fact, in the works. It may not have been that far along, but that’s obviously a key question people are looking at now,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
He added that “the Iraqis are working hard to make sure that everyone connected to it is wrapped up.”
And the war between Shiites and Sunnis goes on and on…