In Mosul there were three bomb attacks outside churches. At approximately 10:30 a.m. on 15 December small bomb damaged the wall of a Syriac Catholic Church. Four people were killed, possibly bystanders, when a second bomb exploded 10 minutes later and grenades were thrown at a nearby Christian school. That afternoon a larger bomb at a Syriac Orthodox Church caused significant damage, injuring a number of people.
These attacks followed the bombing on 26th November of two other church properties in Mosul. There were no casualties, though a Chaldean Catholic Church was virtually destroyed. Church leaders in Mosul described these attacks as the latest in a campaign to force Christians to leave.
Church leaders in Baghdad have been warned by the authorities that further bomb attacks might target church buildings, especially during the Christmas period.
These attacks have occurred within a context of an increased number of bomb attacks, which many regard as part of a campaign to destabilise the country in the run up to parliamentary elections scheduled for early next year. Recent large-scale bomb attacks in Baghdad have targeted government buildings. However, some church properties located nearby have been damaged, including the Anglican Church and the offices of the Chaldean Patriarch. In the latter case nobody was injured, despite the building being badly damaged, because all staff were attending mass at the time.
Iraqi Christians request our prayers that:
a. All Christians in Iraq will know the Father's peace and protection as they attend worship services over the Christmas period
b. Church leaders will know the Spirit's wisdom and guidance in all aspects of planning services and providing pastoral support to their congregations
c. The bereaved will know the peace and comfort of Jesus
d. The wounded and traumatised will know the healing touch of Jesus, both physically and psychologically
e. The perpetrators will be convicted by the Spirit and seek the Father's forgiveness through the Son's death for them
f. The authorities will provide adequate protection, and actively promote religious and other forms of tolerance.