A car bomb exploded this morning in front of a Syriac Catholic Church in Kirkuk in Northern Iraq, wounding 23 people: two of whom are in a serious condition. This is according to a local high ranking police officer, who explained that the explosion took place at around 5:30.
“19 people have been wounded. The victims are Catholics living inside the Church and people living nearby,” local police said. Among those wounded are some women and children.
This is the first time that a place of worship has been targeted, Imad Hanna, one of the church’s priests said. The explosion caused damage to the church’s doors, windows and furnishings.
“The event has deeply saddened us, Louis Sako, Bishop of Kirkuk said, acts like this make you think about what messages lie behind such attacks. Why target a church that is right in the middle of a busy area of the city when there are other churches in more isolated parts of the city or along main roads that are easier to hit.”
The attack comes as something of a surprise given “how peaceful things have been in the area” of late. “Acts of this kind do nothing but give a wrong image of Ramadan, a period which should be dedicated to fasting and prayer.”
03 August 2011
Persecution Watch: Iraq
A Syriac Catholic church was bombed - purposefully - in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. From the Vatican Insider, with my emphases (original):