Iraqi Catholics hit by Epiphany bombing campaign

5.jpgBaghdad, Jan. 7, 2008 ( – Catholic churches and institutions in Baghdad and Mosul, Iraq were hit by a series of bombing attacks on Sunday, January 6, the AsiaNews service reports.

Remarkably, no one was killed by the explosions, Church officials said. But several church buildings sustained major damage.

The attacks “represent a clear message,” Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk told AsiaNews, noting that they seemed clearly to indicate “a coordinated plan.” Catholics in Iraq have been shaken by several bombing campaigns, evidently designed to intimidate the Christian minority and encourage further emigration from Iraq.

Car bombs exploded at the Church of St. George in Baghdad, where Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly had recently finished celebrating the Divine Liturgy. There were also explosions at a Chaldean convent and a Melkite church near Baghdad, another Chaldean church and an orphanage in Mosul, and a Dominican convent in Mosul.