Iraqi church leaders appeal for peace after deadly bomb blasts

|PIC1|Six bombs went off at federal ministries, killing 101 people and wounding more than 1,000 people in Iraq’s bloodiest day this year.

Iraqi officials have since apologised for failing to prevent the bombings in areas that should have been among the most heavily guarded.

One Baghdad church, Our Lady of Fatima, was reportedly badly damaged in the blasts. Latin-rite Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad told the Catholic News Service that he did not believe the church was specifically targeted and there were no casualties.

He said it was important in the current instability to give encouragement to Christians in Iraq, which is still reeling from bomb attacks on seven churches in Baghdad in July which killed four people.

“We are shocked by this violence. The fear of violence is everywhere … Violence is hitting everyone,” he said.

Following Wednesday’s bombings, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni appealed for reconciliation and urged other countries “to do what is best for Iraq, for the good of Iraq and its people, not their own interests”.

“The peace depends on love, to love one another and to do the best for each other, not our selfishness,” he said.

“When there’s no peace, we can’t study, we can’t pray, we can’t work, we can’t even walk.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered a security review after holding urgent meetings with security ministers on Thursday.

The attack came less than two months after the US withdrew its troops from urban areas and handed control to Iraqi forces.