News / Middle East

Bombs Targeting Christians Kill 35 in Iraq

A man looks at the site of bomb attack at a marketplace in Baghdad's Doura District, Iraq, Dec. 25 2013.
A man looks at the site of bomb attack at a marketplace in Baghdad's Doura District, Iraq, Dec. 25 2013.
Edward Yeranian
Christmas Day bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 50 in an area where many Christians live.  Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako said, however, that he does not believe Christians were the specific target. 

Workers swept shards of glass and rubble from two bomb blasts at a Baghdad market in a neighborhood with a large Christian population.  A third bomb exploded near a church but well after the day's Christmas service had ended.

Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako told VOA he had finished the service at the Saint John Church in Dora more than an hour before the bomb went off near the church and a police station. "Today, at nine o'clock we had a Mass and the Mass was finished at 10.  At 11:15 there was an attack against a police post in the area and poor people in the area.  Among the dead there were no Christians. It had nothing to do with the church," he explained.

In a speech on Iraq's state-run television, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged Iraqis to side with the government and not with the Islamist militants blamed for a recent surge in violence in the country.

He called on all Iraqis to stay away from those who are causing violence and help avoid any further bloodshed. He said the Iraqi military will pursue the extremists all over the country until Iraqis are safe and secure everywhere.

In his Christmas sermon, Archbishop Sako urged Iraqis to use dialogue, rather than violence, to resolve their differences.

He called for peace in the wake of the horrible violence that is wracking all of the Middle East.  "How many people must die in places like Iraq, Syria and Egypt before the violence comes to an end?" he asked.

Iraqi military forces are conducting operations in western Anbar province, trying to track down the al-Qaida-linked groups blamed for the country's worst wave of violence since 2008.  More than 8.000 people have been killed since the start of the year.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.

All About America

AppleAndroid