BAGHDAD (Aztag)–At 1:00 pm on November 9–a bomb exploded next to the Armenian Apostolic Church of Baghdad–causing some structural damage. In a phone interview with Iraqi official Barouyr Hagopian–Aztag was able to ascertain that the Armenian church was the main target of the attack.
Militants have detonated car bombs near churches in southern Baghdad in the last few days–killing at least three people and injuring 52 others–according to the US military and police.
The news comes as reports continue that Christians are being driven from Iraq with escalating violence and threats against them.
The first blast exploded near St. Georges Church in the southern Doura neighborhood on November 8 at about 6:25 pm.
The second car bomb detonated minutes later–less than a mile away from the first blast–outside the St. Matthew Church–leaving three people dead and 34 others wounded–said a policeman on the scene who declined to give his name.
Church guard Khalaf Enad–40–said he saw a group of masked men driving up in a pickup truck in front of the church.
The blast gouged a crater over four yards wide and about a yard and half deep.
Iraq is home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world–with an estimated 3% of the population identified as Christian. Under Saddam Hussein–the Iraqi church was protected from religious persecution. Since the invasion–churches have lived under constant fear with a number of attacks recorded against Christians and church buildings–with a number of murders.