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Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Iraqi police said they found a Christian shopkeeper shot to death in the restive northern city of Mosul on Saturday, the fifth Christian killing in a week thought to be related to March elections.

Adnan al-Dahan, a 57-year-old Syrian Orthodox, was found with bullet wounds to his head in the northern Mosul district of al-Belladiyat, police and his relatives said.

Dahan had been kidnapped from his grocery shop last week in the neighbourhood of Al-Habda, also in northern Mosul, according to a police officer who did not want to be named.

Dahan was the fifth Christian to have been killed during the past week in Mosul, which is located about 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Baghdad and has a Christian population of between 2,000 and 3,000.

In late 2008, a systematic campaign of killings and targeted violence killed 40 Christians and saw more than 12,000 flee Mosul.

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In just over 24 hours two Christian businessmen have been killed, one wounded and a fourth kidnapped, for whose release the kidnappers have asked for a “large sum of money”.

The streak of blood and violence against the Christian community in Mosul in northern Iraq shows no sign of abating as it comes under attack from armed gangs and abandoned by local authorities once again, as a local source told, “they do nothing to defend us.”

Yesterday a Christian fruit vendor was killed in the district 17 Tammouz. The man, Najim Abdullah Fatoukhi of 42 years, was shot to death in front of his shop. The attackers fired from a car, and got away undisturbed.

The previous day, Sunday, February 14, Rayan Bashir Salem was killed. An armed commando entered the man’s house in the neighbourhood of Al Mishraq, and shot him at point blank range. In the ambush his brother, Thair was wounded. The victim, also a merchant, owned a frozen goods store.

Finally, on 13 February, a gang kidnapped Sabah al Dahhan. Local sources said the kidnappers have demanded “a high amount of money” for his release.

Sources for AsiaNews in Mosul, asking for anonymity for security reasons, said the “persecution continues in complete indifference” and added that “Christians are living in a state of panic and are trying to leave the city.

Christians are convinced that “these are not normal criminals” behind the attacks and that there are “specific political plans”: the creation of a Christian enclave in the plain of Nineveh and the government “does nothing to counter it.”

A high-profile Christian political figure in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, explains that “even the attacks in Baghdad” in the recent past – which caused hundreds of dead or injured – are related to “project for an area to pen up the Christian community” .

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