More persecution of Christians in Iraq. By Mujahed Mohammed for AFP, with thanks to IrishEi:
MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) – A Chaldaean Catholic priest and three of his assistants were shot dead on Sunday outside a church in northern Iraq, the local police commander said.
Brigadier General Mohammed al-Wagaa, police chief in the divided northern city of Mosul, told AFP that the cleric and his colleagues had been shot dead outside the Holy Spirit church in the Nur district.
“They finished mass at 7.30 pm (1530 GMT) tonight, and the four of them got into the priest’s car to drive away. After they had gone about 100 metres (yards) a car cut them off. Four armed men got out and shot them dead,” he said.
The Catholic news agency Asianews identified the victims as 31-year-old Father Ragheed Ganni and his three assistants.
Last month, the leaders of Iraq’s Christian minority called on the country’s beleaguered government to protect their community from attacks by Al-Qaeda-inspired Muslim extremists.
In a joint statement, Patriarch Mar Dinka IV of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldaean Catholic Patriarch Emmanuel Delly of Babylon said Baghdad’s remaining Christians were facing persecution.
They blamed the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq”, an alliance of Islamist insurgent groups that serves as an Al-Qaeda front, for much of the violence.
“Christians in a number of Iraqi regions, especially those under the control of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq, have faced blackmail, kidnapping and displacement,” the May 10 statement said.