• Iraqi Christians defiant in face of church attacks

    Baghdad, July 14 (DPA): Iraqi Christians remained defiant in the wake of Sunday night’s attack on a church in eastern Baghdad that left at least four dead and 18 injured.

    “If anyone thinks that these terrorist attacks will force us or our friends from our home, they must be crazy,” Nahla Sabbah, a 34-year-old Christian civil servant told DPA.

    She was speaking the day after a car bomb killed four people, including one Muslim, as worshippers left Sunday mass at a church on eastern Baghdad’s Palestine Street.

    Also on Sunday, a bomb exploded as a US convoy including US Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill passed through the southern province of Dhi Qar. No one was injured.

    Sabbah blamed “foreign powers that want to sow discord between the various sects in Iraq” for the attacks.

    Sahir Buhanam, a 48-year-old Christian from Baghdad, agreed.

    “Everyone should know that this is our country,” he said. “Our long history here gives us just as much right to it as any other religious or ethnic group. We won’t relinquish that to anyone.”

    Christian lawmaker Yonadam Kana likewise told DPA that he saw “an expression of foreign interests” in Sunday’s attack, but would not elaborate.

    Iraq’s 800,000 Christians are among the smallest minorities in the country. Last year, thousands fled the northern city of Mosul for outlying villages after a series of attacks on them there.

    Sabah was careful not to paint Christians as especially victimized.

    Sunday’s attack was “a crime that is part of the violence that is directed against all Iraqis,” she said.

    Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, from the Iraqi Islamic Party, a descendant of the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood, echoed those sentiments.

    “This is a declaration of the bankruptcy of the powers of darkness,” he said.

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