Iraqi Christians crowd churches for Christmas

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By: Associated Press /
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Christians are celebrating Christmas and a new sense of security in the Dora neighborhood in Baghdad.
Thousands made their way to church today through checkpoints and streets lined with blast walls. The church was badly damaged by a car bomb two years ago, but worshippers continue to attend mass in what remains of the building.

One woman says she didn’t celebrate last year, but says she feels better this year because there’s more security.

Families streamed into the church’s courtyard, wrapped in heavy winter jackets to protect them from the early morning chill. The pews were almost full inside. But outside, police armed with automatic rifles manned a checkpoint at the corner of the narrow street, searching every passing car for possible bombs.

Christians have often been the target of attacks by Islamic extremists in Iraq, and that forced tens of thousands to flee.