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Iraqi Christians Remember Siege Victims

Iraqi Christians attend a mass at Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad, 10 Dec 2010

Hundreds of Iraqis gathered Friday in a Christian church in Baghdad to mark 40 days since al-Qaida militants carried out a deadly October siege there.

Christians at the badly damaged Our Lady of Salvation (Sayidat al-Nejat) church remembered the 46 worshippers who died in the October 31 attack.

Witnesses say militants entered the church firing guns and immediately killed one of the priests at point-blank range. The militants then held more than 100 worshippers as hostages until Iraqi forces stormed the church and ended the siege.

The families of victims and survivors were among those who attended Friday's mass.

As many as 1.2 million Christians lived in Iraq before the 2003 invasion to oust leader Saddam Hussein. However, many have since fled abroad in the wake of stepped-up violence by al-Qaida-linked Muslim insurgents.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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