Published: 10:00 GMT Daylight Time - Wednesday 05 October 2011
Christians in Iraq victims of targeted killings and kidnappings
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Iraq
Two Christians were murdered in northern Iraq this week; their deaths come as three kidnapped Christians were released following the payment of a hefty ransom.
The body of Emmanuel Hanna Paules (60) was found in Kirkuk on 30 September; it appears that he had been strangled and shot. Another Christian, Bassam Eshoo (30), was shot dead by a group of unknown assailants in the restaurant where he worked in Mosul, on 2 October.
The captives were released on
Photo:Emad Matti ankawa.com
Three Christians who had been kidnapped, along with a companion, near Kirkuk, were released on 30 September, having been held captive for just over a week. A large undisclosed ransom was paid to secure their release.
Pertus Georges (60), Noweya Yelda (43), Ashor Dawood (61) and their Turkmen companion Junkies Ezzeddine were taken hostage by unidentified gunmen while on a hunting trip. Their Land Rover was set ablaze, killing their hunting dogs inside.
A source in Kirkuk, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, said:
The attacks on Christians continue and the world remains totally silent. It’s as if we’ve been swallowed up by the night.
The killings and kidnappings follow a spate of attacks on churches in Kirkuk. Five were targeted with bombs in the space of three weeks in August. First, on 2 August, a car bomb exploded near one church, severely damaging the building and around 30 surrounding homes; 23 people were injured. On the same day, police discovered vehicles packed with explosives outside two other churches in Kirkuk and defused the bombs.
Two weeks later, another church was badly damaged when a bomb was detonated outside. Then on 21 August, police foiled an attempted bomb attack on a fifth church.