Blasts target Iraq Christians; 3 dead, dozens hurt

Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:35pm GMT

By Aseel Kami and Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Bombings and mortar attacks targeting Christians killed at least three people and wounded dozens in Baghdad, Iraqi security sources said on Wednesday, 10 days after a bloody siege at a Catholic church that killed 52.

The attacks renewed fears among minority Christians that Sunni Islamist insurgents were trying to drive them out of their homeland and reignite sectarian warfare, while Iraq's political leaders squabble over the formation of a new government.

Attackers detonated bombs or fired mortar rounds in more than a dozen attacks on Christian targets in the Iraqi capital late on Tuesday and early Wednesday, the security sources said.

An Iraqi police source put the toll at three dead and 37 wounded, while an Interior Ministry source said four people were killed and 33 wounded. Both sources asked not to be named.

"What can we do? They are chasing Christians in every neighbourhood in Baghdad," Emmanuel III Delly, the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad, told Reuters in a telephone interview, his voice shaking. "We can't do anything to stop them, but to pray to God they stop these crimes."

Tensions have been running high in predominantly Muslim Iraq since a March election that produced no clear winner, leaving Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions jockeying for position in a new government and raising fears of renewed violence.

Insurgents linked to al Qaeda have claimed responsibility for a string of recent attacks that appeared aimed at reigniting the sectarian bloodshed that ravaged Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and which began to abate three years ago.


<p>Residents look at a damaged vehicle after a bomb attack in Baghdad November 10, 2010. REUTERS/Saad Shalash</p>
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