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Churches, Hospital Targeted In Baghdad Blasts

16 October 2004 -- A series of bomb blasts targeted Christian churches around Baghdad this morning, causing damage but no casualties, an Iraqi official said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Adnan Abd al-Rahman said five churches were hit by improvised bombs in what appeared to be a coordinated strike against Iraq's small Christian community.

A security worker for one of the churches spoke to Reuters after the blast. "There was a big explosion on the road at about 4:40," he said. "I was awake until four and went to my room to sleep for two hours before going to work. Just then a big explosion happened."

A mortar round later exploded outside a sixth church. A second explosion then took place outside a nearby hospital. One medic was reported killed and nine others wounded in the blast.

Explosions near four churches in Baghdad and another in the northern city of Mosul killed 11 people in August.

The blasts came as some 1,000 U.S. and Iraqi forces have surrounded the Sunni Muslim town of Al-Fallujah in an attempt to root out foreign insurgents and Jordanian militant leader Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi.


[For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".]

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