Gunmen stormed two adjacent homes in al-Tahrir neighborhood of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul late Nov. 15, killing the two male heads of the households, the latest in a series of attacks targeting Christians. Simultaneously, a bomb detonated outside a Christian’s home in central Mosul, damaging the house’s exterior.
At least three people were killed and 28 wounded Nov. 9 and 10 in attacks targeting Christians, including bombings outside Christians’ homes, in western Baghdad. Also, a group called the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for the Oct. 31 hostage-taking at Mosul’s Syrian Catholic cathedral that left 70 people dead and 75 wounded.
That violence led the United States, the UN Security Council and an American Catholic leaders to express concerns for Christians and other religious groups in Iraq. Attacks in October on Christians in Mosul prompted a mass exodus from that city of 1.8 million.
Cardinal Emmanuel Delly III—patriarch of Iraq’s largest Christian community, the Chaldean Catholic Church—urged Iraqi Christians in a televised address last week to “stand firm” in their country during these “difficult times.”
Italy and France have airlifted Iraqi Christians injured in the Oct. 31 attack to Rome and Paris for medical treatment, despite criticism from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that such actions are encouraging the exodus of Christians. “The countries that have welcomed the victims…of this attack have done a noble thing, but that should not encourage emigration,” al-Maliki said.
Other attacks Nov. 15 targeted government authorities. That included another in Mosul, in which two parked car bombs detonated nearly simultaneously outside a complex that houses prison guards. At least two—the prison’s commander and a guard—died in that explosion and another 20 were wounded. (The Telegraph, Nov. 16; CNN, Nov. 15)