Blast Near Church in Kirkuk, Iraq Injures 13
A car blast outside a Syrian Catholic church in Kirkuk, Iraq Tuesday left 13 wounded as police located and disarmed two more car bombs targeting churches in the city, according to area sources. According to Compass Direct News online video images of the attack against the Holy Family Church showed one of its walls blasted open and all its surfaces covered with broken glass, rubble and dust from the entrance, where the explosion took place, to the sanctuary at the far end of the building. The blast occurred on the second day of the month-long Muslim fasting period of Ramadan. Nearby houses in one of Kirkuk’s oldest quarters were seriously damaged, and cars on the street were left in twisted piles of metal. Today all but one of the wounded residents in the church’s neighborhood – an elderly man who was seriously injured – reportedly had been released from the hospital. No terrorist or extremist group has taken responsibility for the attack, and local church leaders said it seems Christians in Iraq are trapped in a senseless game of power and intimidation. “Sometimes we feel there is some pressure over the Christians all over Iraq to make them leave their cities and go to the northern part of Iraq, to Kurdistan,” said a pastor on condition of anonymity, “but who knows? I can’t say those who did this want us to leave our city.”Authorities also located two other cars full of explosives in the area – one parked in front of the church building of Mar Gourgis, of the Assyrian Church of the East, and another packed with explosives was parked in front of a Protestant church.