Dozens killed in series of attacks across Baghdad

Rapid-fire bombings and mortar strikes killed 62 people and wounded 180 across Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhoods yesterday night, calling into question the ability of Iraqi security forces to protect the capital.

The blasts came just two days after gunmen in Baghdad held a Christian congregation hostage in a siege in which 58 people died.

The bombings began just after 6pm and took place in at least 10 neighbourhoods, involving booby-trapped cars, roadside bombs and mortar strikes. The attacks appeared directed mostly at the city's majority Shiite population, though some blasts occurred in Sunni neighbourhoods as well.

The most deadly blast happened when a parked car bomb exploded near a market in the Sadr City slum in eastern Baghdad, home to roughly two million Shiites. That attack killed 15 people and wounded 23.

Earlier yesterday, hundreds of grieving Christians and other Iraqis packed a funeral service for members of the faith killed in the militant siege on the Baghdad church. The attack was claimed by a group linked to al-Qa'ida.

The gunmen attacked Sunday evening parishioners who were celebrating Mass at Our Lady of Salvation church in an affluent part of Baghdad, emphasising the ease with which militants can still strike in Iraq and the dangerous position the country's Christians occupy in Iraq's sectarian structure.

Iraq's top Catholic prelate, Chaldean Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, urged the government to protect the nation's Christian community and not let their promises just be ink on paper.

"We are gathered here in this sacred house to say farewell to our brothers who were just the day before yesterday exclaiming love and peace," Delly told the congregation at the Chaldean St Joseph Church in central Baghdad. "Now fate has decided that they will leave us."

Seven coffins draped in Iraqi flags and covered with flowers were carried to the altar, where notables in the Christian community were gathered. Two of the dead were priests – at least one of whom was executed on the floor of the church by the militants almost as soon as the siege began.

One of the officials read a letter from Pope Benedict XVI to the crowd. "For years the violence hasn't stopped hitting this country, and Christians are becoming the target of these cruel terrorist attacks," the letter read.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...

Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

Recruitment Genius: Fundraising Manager / Income Generation Coach

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project