Monday, July 5, 2010

Car bomb explodes in Kirkuk, Chaldean archbishop’s residence hit


Iraqi Christian prays in front of a gypsum statue of Jesus Christ made by a local resident at the town of Qaraqush in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh May 10, 2010.


Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - A car bomb exploded Saturday morning near the residence of the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, causing damage to the building and the cathedral. According to preliminary reports, the target of the attack was an imam of the Kurdish PUK, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, who was wounded in the attack. AsiaNews sources in Iraq speak of a "difficult July" for the country, gripped by a political stalemate which - after four months from the elections - has failed to lead to the formation of a new government.

An eyewitness said that yesterday, at about three o'clock in the afternoon, a car packed with explosives blew up just 50 meters away from the Chaldean archbishopric of Kirkuk. The target of the attack was the Head of the assets Office of the local Sunni community, who had recently left the office on his way home. He is a Kurdish religious leader linked to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and was injured in the attack. His bodyguards were also wounded.

Christian sources for AsiaNews confirm damage to the Archbishop’s residence: The bomb destroyed doors and windows and also damaged the nearby cathedral. Despite the incident, the faithful packed the building for Mass on Sunday evening.

A "July difficult" is being forecast for Iraq because of widespread political instability, and the inability to form the new government. Parliamentary elections were held on 7 March that were won by secularist former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. The outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki denounced fraud and launched a series of negotiations to gain a majority in Parliament, which provides the mandate for the formation of the new government.

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