Wave of Iraq church bombings stretches into third day

An Iraqi policeman stands next to the burned-out wreck of a car outside a Baghdad church July 13.
A church in Iraq was bombed Monday, the seventh Christian house of worship in the country to be bombed in three days.

At least three children were wounded in Monday’s attack in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, an Interior Ministry official told CNN. The car bomb exploded in the morning, damaging the church in the al-Faisaliya district of eastern Mosul. Six churches in and around Baghdad were bombed over the weekend, leaving four dead, officials told CNN. A total of 35 people have been wounded in the wave of attacks, including the three children Monday. One Christian Iraqi, interviewed outside Sacred Heart Church — one of three churches bombed Sunday afternoon — said the bomb went off shortly before 5 p.m., as members were arriving for Sunday evening mass. No one was hurt, Sabhan George told CNN, but the bomb damaged the church building and some cars outside. George said he is concerned about the church bombings. If this continues, he said, “there will be no Christians left in Iraq.” The first bombing took place Saturday night at St. Joseph’s church in western Baghdad, according to an Interior Ministry official. Two bombs placed inside the church exploded about 10 p.m. (3 p.m. ET). No one was in the church at the time of the attack.

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Earlier Sunday, three bombs exploded outside churches, wounding eight civilians, the official said. The bombs detonated within a 15-minute span, between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. local time (9:30 and 9:45 a.m. ET). Two of the churches are in central Baghdad’s al-Karrada district, and the third is in al-Ghadeer in eastern Baghdad. Sunday evening, a car bomb exploded outside a church on Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad just after 7 p.m. (12 p.m. ET), the official said. Four people died, and 21 were wounded. And in southern Baghdad’s Dora district, a bomb outside a church wounded three other civilians. Most of the churches were damaged in the bombings, according to video footage.

St. Joseph’s was one of six churches hit by coordinated bombings of Christian houses of worship in Baghdad and Mosul in 2004. The church is in the al-Jamiaa neighborhood of Baghdad, a former stronghold of al Qaeda in Iraq. There have been recent reports of an increase in targeted attacks in the area. Many of Iraq’s estimated 1 million Christians have fled the country after targeted attacks by extremists. In October, more than a thousand Iraqi families fled Mosul after they were reportedly frightened by a series of killings and threats by Muslim extremists, who apparently ordered them to convert to Islam or face possible death. At least 14 Christians were killed in Mosul in the first two weeks of October.