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Christmas bomb attacks kill 20 in Baghdad's Christian areas - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Residents walk through the site of the previous day's car bomb attack in new Baghdad District, eastern Baghdad October 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Ahmed Saad)

Residents walk through the site of the previous day’s car bomb attack in new Baghdad District, eastern Baghdad October 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Ahmed Saad)

Baghdad, Reuters-At least 20 people were killed in bomb attacks in Christian areas of Baghdad on Wednesday, including a car bomb that exploded near a church after a Christmas service, police and medics said.

A bomb in a parked car went off while worshippers were leaving a church in the Doura district of southern Baghdad after finishing prayers, police sources said. Most of the victims were Christian, they said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Violence in Iraq has risen to its worst levels in more than five years as hardline Sunni militants linked to al Qaeda step up attacks on the Shi’ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and anyone seen as supporting it. Many thousands have been killed in attacks this year.

The minority Christian community has been a target of attacks by al Qaeda militants in the past, including a 2010 attack on a church that killed dozens of people.

Two bombs also went off in a crowded market in a separate, mostly Christian area in Doura, killing another six people and wounding 14, police and medics said.

A series of car bombs, shootings and suicide attacks killed scores of Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims in the week before the Shi’ite holy day of Arbaeen, which coincided with Christmas Eve this year.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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