Following Sunday evening Mass at Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad, a Roman Catholic church, a group of militants entered the church and after a standoff with police left 41 Christians, including 2 priests, dead Another 17 police and bystanders were also killed.
The Associated Press reported:
“It was a massacre in there and now they are cleaning it up,” he said Monday morning. “We Christians don’t have enough protection. … What shall I do now? Leave and ask for asylum?”
“Now they make a show,” said Jamal Jaju, who watched as Iraqi forces set up a chain link fence around the church and pushed back observers. “What can I say? I lost at least 20 friends in there.”
The death total could have been worse. Almost 100 people were taken hostage when militants, part of the group Islamic State of Iraq connected to Al Qaeda, stormed the church. According to The New York Times, the country’s defense minister suspected police negligence.
Today, the Times reports on the aftermath. “We’ve lost part of our soul now,” said Rudy Khalid, a 16-year-old Christian who lived across the street. He shook his head. “Our destiny, no one knows what to say of it.”
“They came to kill Iraq, not Iraqis,” said Bassam Sami, who huddled in a room for four hours before security forces managed to free him. “They came to kill the spirit of Iraq. They came to kill the reason to live, every dream that you want to make true.”
“They came to kill, kill, kill,” Mr. Sami said.
“I pray for the victims of this senseless violence,” said Pope Benedict, “made even more ferocious because it struck defenceless people who were gathered in the house of God, which is a house of love and reconciliation.”
Indeed, let us pray…