UPDATE: Death toll soars
BAGHDAD – Iraq's dwindling Christian community was grieving and afraid on Monday after [Muslim] militants seized a Baghdad church during evening Mass, held the congregation hostage and triggered a raid by Iraqi security forces. The bloodbath left at least 58 people killed and 78 wounded — nearly everyone inside.
Misunderstanders of Islam strike again. Horrible. Expect the media to report it every which way but the truth. Jihad.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP - Getty Images file
Iraqi Chaladean Catholic Christians celebrate Easter mass at the church of Virgin Mary in central Baghdad's Al-Karrada neighborhood on March 23, 2008. The same church was the site of a four-hour seige on Sunday.
By Waleed Ibrahim and Muhanad Mohammed
A siege by Iraqi security forces at one of Baghdad's largest Catholic churches ended on the night of October 31, leaving at least 37 people dead and twelve injured.
A group of gunmen wearing suicide vests walked into the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation during Sunday Mass. They held more than 50 parishioners hostage for several hours and threatened to kill them if al Qaeda prisoners were not released.
The siege was finally broken on that evening when Iraqi security forces stormed the church. Iraqi spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi claimed that five gunmen were killed during the rescue operation as well as one policeman a parishioner and one of the priests celebrating Mass.
The Christian community in Iraq has suffered persecution since the war. Many thousands have fled abroad. In this case it is still not known why the church was targeted. Some reports suggest that the gunmen had first planned to attack the nearby stock exchange.
Christian clergy and lay people have been kidnapped, murdered, and raped by Muslim terrorists and criminal gangs in Iraq, sparking the exodus of Christians from the country.
Iraq's Jews, who had lived in the region since the time of Abraham and during their Babylonian Captivity, were expelled in the 1940s and 1950s following the infamous pogrom known as The Farhud. Sparked by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, one of the lead Muslim religious men of the region, Muslims went on a killing spree in Baghdad and elsewhere during the Second World War having allied themselves with the genocidal Nazi war machine in the Mideast's version of the Holocaust.
More on Hitler's partner The Mufti of Jerusalem