News / Middle East

Death Toll Higher in Baghdad Church Attack

A Christian Iraqi man stands close to his destroyed vehicles parked close to the Sayidat al-Nejat Catholic cathedral, in central Baghdad, 1 Nov 2010
A Christian Iraqi man stands close to his destroyed vehicles parked close to the Sayidat al-Nejat Catholic cathedral, in central Baghdad, 1 Nov 2010

Multimedia

Audio

Iraqi authorities are defending their handling of a hostage-taking attack Sunday at a Baghdad church.  At least 57 people died during the incident, while dozens more were wounded.

Iraqi officials surveyed the aftermath of the siege at the Our Lady of Deliverance church, expressing shock at the extent of the carnage.

Police said militants set off suicide vests loaded with ball bearings inside the crowded church, where worshippers had gathered for prayer.

It was not immediately clear how many hostages were killed by militants or died at the hands of Iraqi forces during the rescue attempt.

Susan Yackee interview with Joost Hiltermann, Program Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the International Crisis Group (in Washington):

Lawmaker Unadem Kana, a Christian, said he appreciated the sacrifice of the troops, both those wounded and killed, but expressed reservations.

Kana said the mission was not professional.  

Video of the incident released by the U.S. military showed several blasts as forces moved in.

Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul-Qadr al-Obeidi has defended the move, saying it was impossible to wait because the hostage takers had threatened to kill the captives.

Al-Obeidi called the operation a success, with all the terrorists killed and several suspects detained.  Those arrested are believed to be connected to the al-Qaida-linked group Islamic State of Iraq.  

A statement attributed to the group late Sunday claimed responsibility for the attack.  It tied the assault on Iraqi Christians to the case of two Egyptian women who disappeared after allegedly converting from Christianity to Islam.

Although the violence came to a climax at the church, it began earlier in the day at a nearby stock exchange, in Baghdad's Karada neighborhood.

There was also some confusion about the role of the U.S. military in the operation.  Iraqi and U.S. officials say Iraqi forces took the lead.  But one hostage who survived the ordeal said he was freed by a group with men who looked like Americans.

The United States says its troops are no longer engaged in any combat missions in Iraq.

Washington is eager to see greater stability in Iraq as it fulfills an agreement to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country by the end of next year.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid