NEWS ALERT: Up To 6 Christians Killed In Iraq

Thursday, February 18, 2010

By Worthy News Middle East Service

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (Worthy News)-- Up to six Christians have been killed in a new wave of anti-Christian violence rocking the northern city of Mosul and nearby areas, an advocacy group said.

In one of the latest incidents, two Christians students were shot in a drive by shooting Tuesday, February 26, killing one and injuring the other, said Middle East Concern (MEC) which has close contacts with Iraqi Cheirtians.

"Later that day two Christian students were kidnapped, though it is unknown if a ransom has been sought," added MEC in a statement monitored Thursday, February 18.

The violence came a day after a Christian man was killed in front of his shop in a drive by shooting, MEC said. Sunday, February 14, another Christian man was killed in his home by an armed man who forced his way into the house," the group said.

Additionally, MEC said, it had received yet "unconfirmed reports that three other Christians have been killed whilst attempting to leave Mosul."

These were no isolated incidents, MEC reported. On Saturday, February 13, "one Christian was abducted [and] his family have received a large ransom demand," the group added.
"The usual practice in Iraq is that if a ransom is not paid then the victim is killed. However, there is scope for negotiation, and the ransom paid is often much less than the initial demand."

No more details were released Thursday, February 18, apparently amid security concerns. MEC linked the increase in anti-Christian attacks to the upcoming parliamentary elections March 7.

MEC and other groups remain concerned that Islamic extremism will increase.

Christians have often been accused by militants of supporting the U.S. backed war on terrorism and following a "Western religion."

Additionally Christians are targeted to extort money as many are involved in private businesses, chuch groups say.
There were an estimated 750.000 Christians in Iraq when the U.S.-led war began in 2003, but many have since fled the country, mainly to neighboring nations.