More protection for Iraq's Christians

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More protection for Iraq's Christians

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The funeral has been held in Baghdad of a priest who died after a raid on the city’s biggest Catholic Church on Sunday.

Thair Saaallah was killed with at least 51 others when Iraqi security forces attempted to free more than 100 Catholics being held by gunmen linked to Al Quada.

Louis Morqus, who heads the Hamurabi Organisation for Human Rights said attacks on Christians in the country have risen in recent years.

“Christians, like other minorities, have been displaced, killed and harassed by terrorist groups and groups supported by other countries in the region for political ends.”

Inspecting the damage to the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad, Emmanuel III Cardinal Delly, Patriarch of Babylon said it was the worst Christian tragedy since violence began after the US-led invasion in 2003.

Iraq’s Christian population once numbered nearly a million but many have now left.

Most of those who remain are based in Baghdad.

Iraqi authorities have now taken extra measures to protect Christian neighbourhoods, with additional police cars and checkpoints near the capital’s churches.