Bomb attacks on Christians in Baghdad kill 37Published 7:51am Wednesday, December 25, 2013
BAGHDAD — Militants in Iraq targeted Christians in two separate bomb attacks in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 37 people, officials said.
In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church during Christmas Mass in the capital’s southern Dora neighborhood, killing at least 26 people and wounding 38, a police officer said.
A little bit earlier, a bomb ripped through an outdoor market in the nearby Christian section of Athorien, killing 11 people and wounding 21, the officer added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Iraq’s dwindling Christian community, which is estimated to number about 400,000 to 600,000 people, has often been targeted by al-Qaida and other insurgents who see the Christians as unbelievers.
Wednesday’s bombings came amid a massive military operation in Iraq’s western desert as authorities try to hunt down insurgents who have stepped up attacks across Iraq in the past months, sending violence to levels not seen since 2008.
The Christmas Day attacks brought the total number of people killed so far this month in Iraq to 441. According to U.N. estimates, more than 8,000 people have been killed since the start of the year.