From The Telegraph U.K.
Islamist insurgents in Iraq threaten wave of attacks on Christians
Islamist insurgents in Iraq have warned of a new wave of attacks on Christians “wherever they can be reached”, threatening a new wave of sectarian violence.
By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent
Published: 8:06PM GMT 03 Nov 2010
“We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood,” said a statement posted on a militant website by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an al-Qaeda front.
The ISI claimed responsibility for an attack on a Roman Catholic church in Baghdad on Sunday evening which left 42 worshippers, at least six police and all nine assailants dead.
Al-Qaeda or other Sunni militants are also presumed to be responsible for a wave of bombings across Shia districts of the city that killed 76 people on Tuesday night.
The failure of the main political parties to form a government since March has meant no united face has been put against violence.
The political grouping backed by most Sunnis, Iraqiya, is also threatening to abandon talks and accept an opposition role, which could lead to more discontented followers being tempted to join militant groups.
While Iraqi Christians have been under siege since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the sudden public threats mark a new development. “All Christian centres, organisations and institutions, leaders and followers are legitimate targets for the muhajedeen [holy warriors] wherever they can reach them,” the ISI said.
It called the Pope, who issued a letter of condolence over the killings, “the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican” and said Christians would be “extirpated and dispersed” from Iraq.
Half of all the 800,000 Christians who remained in Iraq by the time of the 2003 invasion have since fled the country after waves of bombings and shootings. The threat of more violence appeared to confirm fears in a Washington report that stability in Iraq might be “years away”.