Iraqi Christians Face New Wave of Attacks

On Thursday 17th June, a sports utility vehicle packed with artillery shells slammed into Iraqi military who are being backed by American troops. The blast left 35 people dead and 138 wounded. Another car bomb occurred in north of the capital which killed six members of the Iraqi security forces.

"The vehicle exploded when it got near the gate, throwing bodies, body parts, and metal along a nearby four-lane road. The force of the blast hurled a car into the centre of the roadway," Voice of America (VOA) reported. There were no reports of American casualties.

"We are suffering from two or three kidnappings a week, especially those with a higher education are targeted for kidnappings, including families of hundreds of engineers and doctors." Father Bashar Warda, who teaches at the Chaldean Christians' Babel College for Philosophy and Theology in Baghdad said.

"The occupation forces employ 100 Christians and 30 have been killed, between 5 to 10 Chaldean families are leaving Iraq every day. Others are sending their wives and children away first, mainly to Syria, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, and will follow later if the security situation does not improve.”

"All those elements that are working for the normalisation of the situation in Iraq are being targeted. I think all this is happening to block the country's development," Father Bashar Warda continued.

On Monday 14th June, a car bomb reportedly killed 11 people, including five foreign contractors, and wounded more than 60 when it ripped through Baghdad's commercial district during morning rush hour.

Iraqi Christians have been devastated by war and more than two decades of tyrannical rule by Saddam Hussein. A minority of less than three percent, this small Christian community, is one of the oldest in the Middle East. Some analysts are concerned that the blasts will cause a new wave of attacks on these minority Christians.

Despite the risk caused by the unstable political situation in the country, many Christian organisations and non-governmental organisations are attempting to deliver relief to Iraqi Christians as they may face numerous unforeseen obstacles.

Voice of the Martyrs is promoting an Action Pack to help the Iraqi Christians. The Action Pack includes a vacuum bag which the donors can send daily necessities or greeting cards to the fellow brothers and sisters; as well as a colour Gospel storybook, He Lived Among Us, printed in their native language.