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Iraqi Insurgents Target Churches In Bomb Attacks

Iraqi Premier Allawi 1 August 2004 -- A series of bomb blasts occurred outside of five Christian churches in Iraq today, causing deaths and injuries.

Casualty figures are still unclear, but news reports speak of between two and 20 people dead, with scores injured. At least four of the churches bombed were in Baghdad, where an Armenian, an Assyrian, and a Chaldean church were among the targets.

At least one church was also bombed in the northern city of Mosul. This is the first time that Christian churches have been targetted in the campaign of violence by those opposed to the newly-installed Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition.

In other violent incidents around Iraq, some six people, including a U.S. soldier, were killed today.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said today in Kuwait City that if the insurgents are allowed to succeed in Iraq it would destabilize the entire Middle East region.

During a visit to Kuwait coinciding with the anniversary of Iraq's 1990 invasion of the Gulf state, Allawi said quick action is needed to stamp out the violence racking his country.

If terrorism succeeds in destroying Iraq's progress then the whole region "will go the same way," he is quoted as saying by the official Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.

Allawi said Iraq is seeking assistance from friendly states to stem the flow of funds to guerrillas, saying the time had come for a "strong and clear stand" against terror.