Blasts rock Christian areas in Iraqi Capital

At least 24 people killed in bomb attacks in Baghdad's south, including a car bomb near church after Christmas service.

    At least 24 people were killed in bomb attacks in Christian areas of Baghdad, including a car bomb that exploded near a church after a Christmas service, police and medics said.

    A bomb in a parked car went off on Wednesday while worshippers were leaving a church in the Doura district of southern Baghdad after finishing prayers, police sources said.

    Most of the victims were Christian, they said. Scores of others were injured.

    No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

    The attacks come a day after Christians in Iraq celebrated their first Christmas Eve midnight mass in Baghdad since 2003, taking advantage of intensive security measures in the capital.

    Festivities have been overshadowed in recent years as targeted attacks on the Christian community forced thousands to flee a country where Christians once numbered about 1.5 million.

    A Christmas mass service in 2010 was cancelled after Christians received threats by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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