34 killed in Christmas attacks in Iraq

Wednesday 25 December 2013 22.46
Police said a bomb went off as worshippers were leaving a church
Police said a bomb went off as worshippers were leaving a church

At least 34 people were killed in bomb attacks in Christian areas of Baghdad this morning, some by a car bomb that exploded near a church after a Christmas service, police and medics said.

The car bomb killed at least 24 people, most of them Christian, when worshippers were leaving the church in the Doura district of southern Baghdad, police sources said.

Two bombs also went off in a crowded market in a separate, mostly Christian area in Doura, killing another ten people, police and medics said.             

At least 52 people were wounded in the attacks. Nobody has claimed responsibility.

Violence in Iraq has risen to its worst levels in more than five years as hardline Sunni militants linked to al-Qaeda step up attacks on the Shiae-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and anyone seen as supporting it.

Many thousands have been killed in attacks this year.             

The minority Christian community has been a target of attacks by al-Qaeda militants in the past, including a 2010 attack on a church that killed dozens of people.

A series of car bombs, shootings and suicide attacks killed scores of Shia Muslim pilgrims in the week before the Shia holy day of Arbaeen, which coincided with Christmas Eve this year.

Keywords: baghdad, iraq