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Christmas blasts kill 35 in Iraq

Bombs exploded in a market near a church in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, killing 35 people and wounding more than 50, the interior ministry said. The blasts come as Iraq suffers its worst violence since 2008, when it was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings, raising fears that the country is slipping back into all-out conflict. "Two roadside bombs exploded in a popular market in Dura, killing 35 people and wounding 56," interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan told AFP, referring to a south Baghdad area

Flight of Iraq Christians resumes amid surge in unrest

Awshalim Benjamin is desperate to leave Iraq, where a sack of faded photographs is all that remains of the happy life he and his ancient, dwindling Christian community once knew. The 74-year-old waits by the phone for the call that will tell him he can finally depart Baghdad to join his family in the United States -- and leave behind a 2,000-year-old community that has shrunk by more than half since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

CORRECTED: Iraq Christians mark Easter, pray for papal visit

After years of flight from violence-racked Iraq to more stable countries, Baghdad's dwindling Christian community marked Easter Sunday by praying for a visit from the new pope. Worshippers attended services at 28 churches across the Iraqi capital, often under heavy security that meant they were frisked before entering while soldiers and police stood guard outside. "It would be so important for us if he came," said Acil Aysar, a 17-year-old attending mass at the Virgin Mary church in Baghdad's central Karrada neighbourhood.

Iraq Christians mark Easter, pray for papal visit

After years of flight from violence-racked Iraq to more stable countries, Baghdad's dwindling Christian community marked Easter Sunday by praying for a visit from the new pope. Worshippers attended services at 28 churches across the Iraqi capital, often under heavy security that meant they were frisked before entering while soldiers and police stood guard outside. "It would be so important for us if he came," said Acil Aysar, a 17-year-old attending mass at the Mar Yusuf church in Baghdad's central Karrada neighbourhood.

Iraqi Christians fear fate of departed Jews

After 10 years of attacks on Iraqi Christians, Monsignor Pios Cacha wonders if the ancient community's days are numbered. "Maybe we will follow in the steps of our Jewish brothers," he says. The priest's reference to Iraq's Jewish population -- once a thriving community numbering in the tens of thousands but now practically non-existent -- neatly sums up the possible fate of Iraq's Christians.

Arab Spring promoting bloodshed: Iraq Christian leader

The newly appointed patriarch of Iraq's largest Christian community said on Saturday that the Arab Spring had been hijacked by narrow interests and had promoted tension and bloodshed. Asked about the impacts on Christians of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East that eventually led to the ouster of strongmen in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya and the conflict in Syria, the head of the Chaldean Church Louis Sako said the changes had initially signalled hope.
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