Patriarch Sako pleas for end to daily constant of Islamist violence

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An attack yesterday on a factory killed 14 people, injuring another 20. 15 more victims in a series of attacks in the capital and surrounding areas. The Chaldean Patriarchate condemns attacks, which have become “a daily constant”. The appeal to political and religious leaders for the promotion of a “culture of tolerance, love and peace.”

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – The militias of the Islamic State (IS) have claimed responsibility for the suicide attack yesterday on a gas factory north of Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 14 people and wounding twenty. The attack began with the explosion of three car bombs near the main entrance of the Taji plant, north of the capital.

Afterwards, six men with explosive belts stormed and ignited the gas in the tanks; only later the security forces were able to stop the attackers and regain control of the facility.

Yesterday’s attack on Taji, about 20km north of Baghdad started at dawn. The explosion of the three gas tanks f caused a violent fire; several workers employed in the structure are among the victims of the attack, caught up in the explosion along with some security personnel.

Also yesterday in a series of attacks in the capital and surrounding areas killed another 15 people.

The Islamic State militias control much of northern and western Iraq and in the last week, have unleashed a series of bloody attacks in the capital. On May 11, a series of car bombs exploded in Shia districts of the capital, killing at least 93 people. It was the most serious attack recorded in 2016 in Iraq, followed the next day by other explosions that caused new victims among the civilian population.

In a note sent to AsiaNews, the Chaldean patriarchate has “strongly condemned” the violence, which today have become “a daily” constant in the country. To the leaders of the Iraqi Church say the target “is Iraq’s cultural mosaic” and the idea of ??”coexistence.” Hence the invitation to the government, the political class and to all people of good will to work “for the safety and the lives of innocent citizens”. Added to this they appeal for “urgent reforms” for the development of the nation at a time of deep political, economic and institutional crisis exacerbated by splits and internal divisions.

The document, signed by the Patriarch Mar Raphael Louis Sako is also a strong appeal “to the Muslim religious leaders” and “Christian clergy” to “unite their efforts” in promoting a “culture of tolerance, love and peace “against all” abuses “and” distortions” of the faith. “This co-operation – the statement concludes – will forcefully reject the wave of fundamentalism and sectarianism” associated with past crisis.

The Chaldean Patriarch’s appeal come at a time of deep crisis in Iraq, marked by internal division and an inability to form a new government. An impasse that has raised doubts on the capacity of the political and institutional leaders to fight the militias of the Islamic State which, after a period of difficulty, seems to be gaining new ground.