Iraqi Ambush Killed U.S Missionary Starting a Church

Baqdhad : An A Rhode Island Pastor was killed when the vehicle in which he was traveling was attacked by gunmen near the town of Mahmudiyah 15 miles south of Baghdad on 14th Feb. 2004(Valentine's day).

A Baptist Press reported that Rev. John Kelly, 48, pastor of Curtis Corner Baptist Church in rural Wakefield, who was helping to start a Church in Iraq was killed when gunmen traveling on a sedan drove near his car fired from close range.

Three other pastors Rev. Kirk DiVietro, of Grace Baptist Church in Franklin, Mass.; Rev. David Davis, of Grace Bible Baptist Church in Vernon, Conn.; and Rev. Garland Carey, of Valley Bible Baptist Church in Newburgh, N.Y. -- were slightly injured in the attack Rev. Kelly sat behind the driver of the car, an Iraqi, who was unharmed by the attack.

Rev. Kelly was one of the 10 ministers who went to Iraq on 6th February to help start a Church in Iraq. Some quarters have reported that these ministers went to convert people there but it is learned that they went there to ordain a Pastor.

"Pastor Kelley was willing to give his life so that people would hear the message that Jesus had. He was just that kind of man," said Roland Vukic, a church member.

Rev. Kelley, a former Marine, leaves a wife and four children. The Boston Globe reported that Kelley's wife, Jane, had received a bouquet of flowers her husband had arranged to be sent on Valentine's Day; several hours later she was told of his death.

U.S. paratroopers learned of the attack while patrolling the town of Mahmudiyah. They were told the American Pastors were being treated at a hospital in that town, about 15 miles south of Baghdad.