Iraq: Christian killed in northern city of Mosul

Baghdad, 17 March (AKI) - Masked gunmen on Wednesday shot dead an Iraqi Christian in the northern city of Mosul, the Assyrian Christian website reported. The city has been at the centre of a number of attacks targeting Christians in recent months.

Yaqub Adam, a 54-year-old father was hit by a hail of bullets fired from a pistol with a silencer. He was murdered near the shop where he worked as a glassmaker.

It was the first Christian killing since Iraq's national elections on 7 March and came less than a week after 122 Christian families returned to Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province.

Around 800 families had left their homes in Mosul in the past few months to seek safety in villages in the surrounding province, Mosul's bishop Monsignor Emil Shimoun Nona, told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Over 40 Christians have been killed in Mosul in the past three months in bomb and gun attacks in a resurgence of the violence which killed 40 Christians and caused more than 12,000 to flee in 2008.

It is not clear if Al-Qaeda or factions involved in a violent territorial and power struggle between Kurds and Arabs are behind the spike in attacks against Christians and their churches.

Christians number around 250,000 to 300,000 in Nineveh province, out of approximately 700,000 Christians remaining in Iraq.

Before the US-led invasion in 2003, there were over a million Christians living in Iraq, according to data collected by the country's dioceses.


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