Gunmen kill three Iraqi Christians in Kirkuk

Special Report: Tension escalates in Iraq

KIRKUK, Iraq, April 27 (Xinhua) — Gunmen have killed three of Iraq’s Christian minority members and wounded two others in two separate attacks in the northern city of Kirkuk, a local police chief said on Monday. 

Unknown gunmen stormed a house on Sunday night and shot dead two Christian women in the Domiz neighborhood in southern Kirkuk, some 250 km north of Baghdad, Brigadier Burhan Tayib, the city police chief told Xinhua.

Separately, unidentified armed men stormed another house also on Sunday night in the June 1st neighborhood of southern Kirkuk, killing a man and wounding his father and brother, Tayib said.

Iraqi security forces sealed off the Christian neighborhoods in the city and intensified patrols near their churches to prevent further attacks, Tayib said, adding that the incidents are under investigation.

The latest attacks raising fears of a new wave of violence against the Iraqi Christians who already suffered the murder of hundreds of its members due to chaos and insecurity that engulfed Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Most of the around 1-million Iraqi Christian minority live in areas from Baghdad to the northern cities of the country, including Kirkuk and Mosul.

Many were killed in Baghdad during the sectarian strife between Shiite and Sunni communities, and others killed in northern Iraq where power is often divided between Arabs and Kurds.