Archbishop seized in Iraq

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The Independent Online

Gunmen in Iraq kidnapped a Catholic archbishop and targeted security forces in a series of brazen attacks yesterday, killing more than 20 people. US Marines suffered undisclosed casualties in a car bombing in Ramadi, where two Shia Muslims were beheaded and their bodies left on the roadside.

Gunmen in Iraq kidnapped a Catholic archbishop and targeted security forces in a series of brazen attacks yesterday, killing more than 20 people. US Marines suffered undisclosed casualties in a car bombing in Ramadi, where two Shia Muslims were beheaded and their bodies left on the roadside.

In Mosul, Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, 66, of the Syrian Catholic Church, was seized outside his church. No-one claimed responsibility and the Vatican condemned the abduction as a "terrorist act". Christians make up 3 per cent of Iraq's 26 million population.

The deadliest attacks occurred in the insurgent flashpoint areas north and west of Baghdad, where Sunni Muslim insurgents are seeking to derail the elections on 30 January. In Buhriz, 35 miles north of Baghdad, gunmen attacked an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint at the provincial broadcasting centre, killing eight soldiers and wounding four.

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