November 3, 2010
Al-Qaida in Iraq has threatened more attacks on Iraq’s Christians, claiming that they are legitimate targets who now face the “doors of destruction”.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The warning, published today on militant websites, came three days after gunmen from an al-Qaida front group, the Islamic State of Iraq, raided one of Baghdad’s main cathedrals during Sunday mass. More than 50 people were killed and dozens were wounded when Iraqi forces stormed the church in an attempt to lift the four-hour siege.
In its statement, ISI described the pope as “the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican” and warned that Christians would be “extirpated and dispersed” from Iraq. “All Christian centres, organisations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the muhajideen wherever they can reach them,” the statement said. “We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood.”
Iraq’s Christians were not specifically persecuted under Saddam Hussein, but hundreds of thousands are believed to have fled the country amid the sectarian violence unleashed by the 2003 invasion.