52 killed in Iraq church hostage bloodbath

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Old 02-Nov-2010
52 killed in Iraq church hostage bloodbath

Iraq church siege ends, priest among 52 dead

Baghdad: Iraqi forces stormed a Baghdad church where militants had taken an entire congregation hostage for four hours, leaving at least 52 people dead, including a priest, Iraqi officials said on Monday.
The incident began when militants wearing suicide vests and armed with grenades attacked the Iraqi stock exchange at dusk on Sunday before turning their attention to the nearby Our Lady of Deliverance church—one of Baghdad’s main Catholic places of worship—taking about 120 Christians hostage.

Maj Gen Hussein Ali Kamal, the deputy interior minister, said 52 people were killed and 67 wounded, in the bloodbath. Officials said at least one priest and 10 policemen were among the dead. Many of the wounded were women. A Christian member of
parliament on Monday described the Iraqi rescue operation as “not professional,” saying “it was a hasty action that prompted the terrorists to kill the worshippers.”

Baghdad military spokesman Maj Gen Qassim al-Moussawi said security forces killed eight armed attackers, while the US military said between five and seven died. Two police officers on the scene, however, say only three attackers were killed and another seven arrested afterward. A cryptically worded statement posted on Sunday on a militant website allegedly by the Islamic State of Iraq appeared to claim responsibility for the attack. The group, which is linked to Al Qaida in Iraq, said it would “exterminate Iraqi Christians” if Muslim women in Egypt were not freed. AP

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