Al-Qaeda blamed for Iraq church attacks, UK
Aug 2 2004

Al-Qaeda blamed for Iraq church attacks
7.05AM, Mon Aug 2 2004

Al-Qaeda is being blamed for the bombing of four churches in Baghdad
which killed at least ten worshippers.

More than 40 others were injured in the co-ordinated attacks which
the Iraqi government said were an attempt to force Christians out of
the country.

The Vatican condemned the blasts – the first attacks on churches
during the 15-month insurgency – echoing concerns among Iraqis that
they aimed to inflame religious tensions.

In the deadliest attack, a suicide car bomber drove into the car park
of a Chaldean church in southern Baghdad before detonating his
vehicle, killing at least ten people as worshippers left the

The US military has warned that guerrillas opposed to the presence of
more 160,000 foreign troops may try to deepen divisions between the
country’s diverse religious communities in their campaign to
destabilise Iraq.

Vatican deputy spokesman Father Ciro Benedettini said: “It is
terrible and worrying because it is the first time that Christian
churches are being targeted in Iraq.”

An explosion at the Armenian church in Baghdad shattered stained
glass windows and hurled chunks of hot metal. Another bomb exploded
15 minutes later at a nearby Assyrian church.

US Colonel Mike Murray of the 1st Cavalry Division said at least 50
people had been wounded at the church, some seriously.

In Mosul, officials said at least one person was killed in a blast at
a church and 15 wounded.