Christmas car bomb targeting Iraq church kills 14

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BAGHDAD: A car bomb targeted a church in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday as worshippers left after Christmas Mass, killing at least 14 people, most of them Christians, security officials said.

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The blast in the Dura area of south Baghdad also wounded more than 30 people, the sources said.

“The attack targeted the church, and most of the martyrs are Christians,” a police colonel told Agence France-Presse. “The attack happened when worshippers were leaving the church” after a service.

Iraq has seen its Christian population sharply decline in the years of bloody sectarian killings and other violence that followed the 2003 US-led invasion of the country.

Estimates of the number of Christians living in Iraq before 2003 vary from more than one million to around 1.5 million. But now they are estimated at fewer than 500,000.

Violence in Iraq has surged this year to levels not seen since 2008, when the country ws just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian unrest.

More than 6,650 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2013, according to Agence France-Presse figures based on security and medical sources.

AFP

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