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Three priests among dozens killed in attack on Baghdad church

By on Monday, 1 November 2010

Nuns and bystanders are seen outside Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Nuns and bystanders are seen outside Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Three priests were among the dozens of people who were killed during an attack on a church in central Baghdad yesterday.

Islamic militants stormed Our Lady of Salvation Syrian Catholic church during Mass yesterday evening and took about 100 worshippers hostage.

According to Church sources in Iraq, three young priests who had been leading the service were killed during the attack. They were Fr Wasim Sabieh, Fr Thaier Saad Abdal and Fr Qatin. Fr Qatin was wounded during the raid and died later in hospital.

One of the freed hostages, who did not give his name, said the first thing the gunmen did when they entered the church was to shoot the priest.

The man, quoted by the Telegraph, said: “They entered the church with their weapons, wearing military uniforms. They came into the prayer hall, and immediately killed the priest.”

Figures from police released this morning stated that 37 were killed and 56 wounded in the attack, including seven members of the Iraqi security forces.

The church was attacked by nine armed men who had suicide bombs attached to their belts.

Hostages were freed after Iraqi security forces stormed the church.The security forces killed eight of the terrorists during the operation and a ninth died when he activated a suicide bomb.

The terrorists claimed to belong to the Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni militant group closely allied with al-Qaeda.
They were demanding the release of al-Qaeda members being held in Iraq and Egypt.

A statement on the group’s website also demanded the release of Muslim girls from Christian backgrounds who they claimed were being held prisoner in Egyptian Coptic monasteries.

The statement gave 48 hours to release the girls before they blew up the church.

Neville Kyrke-Smith, the national director of ACN (UK), expressed the charity’s concern for suffering Christians in the country.

He said: “Our heart goes out to the persecuted Christians in Iraq following this latest tragedy which has resulted in such a terrible loss of life.

“We are committed to praying for, and to providing aid to, the Church in need in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.
“The Iraqi Christian communities have almost been destroyed in recent years. We are committed to standing by our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Aid to the Church in Need has prioritised help for the Middle East since Pope Benedict XVI asked the charity to do more to sustain Christianity in the region – saying “churches in the Middle East are threatened in their very existence”.

As well as helping Christian refugees in the north of Iraq and Syria, ACN is providing aid for those fleeing to Turkey and Jordan.

Last year ACN provided more than £450,000 in aid for persecuted Christians in Iraq.

  • Tigerfeet

    The western intervention in Iraq has been a disaster in so many ways, particularly for the small Christian population.

  • Tom

    Tigerfeet gives the usual liberal interpretation:

    ” It's all the fault of the West'.

    “Bush did it”

    “Islam is a “Religion of Peace”

    “The Church should dialogue with Muslims and learn to live with their needs and demands”

    NO. Don't think so. The 2nd Gates of Vienna isn't very far off.

    This time, Islam may win, and at least one good thing will happen – Tigerfeet, and people like him,

    will be forced to convert to Islam, so they can learn just how barbaric and brutal their new religion is.

  • Tigerfeet

    Him? You presume a lot. I am very far from liberal, but it is a fact that life for Christians in Iraq has become much worse after the intervention of the allies.

  • Benedict

    Cowards! To enter a church, kill parishoners and a priest is an utter act of depravity. The terrorists can try to rationalize this any way they want, but what was done was pure evil.

  • Kim

    Let us pry for the priests, but also let us ask forgiveness for the murderers. This is a horrific crime. Our hearts bleed with the dead and wounded.

  • Midwester

    Tom, you have no idea the suffering that Iraqi Christians endure since the invasion of Iraq. For all of Saddam Hussein's faults, at least Christians were relatively protected. There have been Christians in Iraq long before any Muslims. The Iraqi war has led to martyrdom of bishops, priests, and common people. One particularly poignant story involved a young Christian girl in Mosel who was raped and murdered by Muslim men on her way home from school in broad daylight. In Iraq, Christians are considered worse than dogs and have no protection. My question is why the US is not providing protection to Christian Churches since it is our actions that placed these poor people in jeopardy. By the way, I am not a liberal. I am a lifetime conservative. That said, there are many reasons why the war in Iraq was wrong. That is for another discussion.

  • JimlJandmlynn

    This massacre is yet another example of “peace-loving Islam”. What a farca! And swallowed by so many gullible people in the Western Hemisphere.

  • Gail

    How terrible to be so snared by hatred – the mark of satan. God rest our new martyrs and welcome into eternal happiness.

  • simcha

    We are not dealing with “flesh & blood issues here”.Defenitely Spiritual Warfare it good vs evil scenarios.Let's deal with this horrendous situations GOD's Way.The Martyrs are now safe with GOD in Heaven.Let's Pray for Healings & Deliverance for both sides(victim's family & victimizer's families).

  • Mark J. Bronson

    This is the tragedy of evil and sin. Terrorists have totally sided with Satan. To kill priests in a Church during Mass over political grievances is the upmost disregard to human dignity and compassion. We have seen terrorists murder and plunder for centuries.

    Today it is time to recognize the countries that sponsor these terrorists: Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, and many several East countries. The U.S. needs to stop trade immediately with these countries and end diplomatic ties. Charitable donations need to increase to prevent hardships on the local populations.

    Eventually, through prayer and the end of the money flow, terrorist activity will decline. Law enforcement and military units will round up the hard core terrorists and insure their immediate imprisonment. Church missionary work will support, foster and grow the next generation of catholics in the Middle East. In the end, the Church will be stronger and the people will benefit from the presence of Jesus in their community. Amen

  • Auricularis

    Silence from the Muslim communities around the world. The silence is deafening.

  • ChaldeanGirl

    My heart bleeds for my people. Today, aside from 3 more Christian/Catholic's being killed outside their homes, we are hearing that 3 young girls were raped on BLACK SUNDAY inside the Church as the “Iraqi Guards” wasted 4 hours outside doing nothing to help these people. A 3 year old boy, Adam, died in his father's arms, who too died. They shot Adam in the mouth. Now they are threatening to kidnap 25 “cute girls” and sell them as sex slaves to the Saudi Arabians. Where is the United States? Where is the United Nations? (I won't even dare to ask where the “Iraqi Guards” are) When will our people's cries be heard? They were safer under Saddam's rule. How many more of our Brother's and Sister's have to die before something happens to stop this? PLEASE PRAY FOR US, THEY ARE TRYING TO CREATE A GENOCIDE! My Ancestors Land will be no more :( Our History is going to wipe out in front of our eyes! We never hurt anyone. Please pray for them!

    Heart Broken :(

  • Tfwarner

    The plight of Iraqi Christians is dismal. Truly great people are being murdered daily, yet they bravely attend church . So many western Christians could learn a lot from these saintly souls.
    Tell of their suffering to the masses –everywhere in speech, on the internet and in writing.
    Brochures on the martyred Father Ganni have gone to many countries and in 20 languages.Little Adam's picture with the account of his murder is being placed in Catholic churches.
    Go out and tell the world !
    Viva Cristo Rey.