Christian priest shot dead in Iraq

Drive-by shooting in Baghdad is the latest attack on the Christian community.

    Christians in Iraq have suffered an increasing number of attacks in recent months [EPA] 
    "Everybody is shocked," Matti Zaki, another priest, said.

    "The sadness is everywhere in the house. I cannot find the suitable words to express the ordeal the family is going through."
     
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    The Christian community in Iraq has suffered an increasing number of attacks in recent months.

    Last month, the body of Paulos Faraj Rahho, a Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, was found in a shallow grave in the city two weeks after being kidnapped.

    Iraqi Christians, with Chaldeans forming the largest group, numbered an estimated 800,000 before the US-led invasion.
     
    They are now half that size, with people leaving the country due to the poor security situation.

    Security measures 'eased'

    Meanwhile, the Iraqi government has eased security measures in the two Baghdad neighborhoods of Sadr City and Shula, strongholds of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.

    The decision came amid complaints of food shortages nearly a week after al-Sadr issued a ceasefire order.

    According to a statement issued by Brigadier Genernal Qassim al-Moussawi, chief spokesman for the Iraqi military, trucks carrying maintenance teams, food products and ambulances are now allowed to travel into the areas.

    A vehicle ban was previously in place in these areas

    While the ceasefire had put an end to large-scale fighting that broke out over a government crackdown in the southern city of Basra, clashes have continued between fighters and Iraqi security forces.
    In Baghdad, at least four people were killed and 15 wounded when a bomb exploded on a minibus on Saturday.

    The blast occured during the morning rush hour, in an eastern area of Baghdad.

    Meanwhile, in the southern city of Basra, residents say an airstrike killed four people and injured eight.

    It comes a day after Iraq's prime minister ordered a nationwide freeze on raids against militias.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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