UK & World News
Iraq: Christmas Bombers Target Christians
At least 22 people have been killed in Christmas Day bomb attacks targeting Christians in Iraq.
A car bomb went off near a church during Christmas Mass in Baghdad's southern Dora district, killing at least 15 people and wounding more than 30, a police officer said.
Earlier, a bomb ripped through an outdoor market in the nearby Christian section of Athorien, killing seven people and wounding 16, the officer added.
A medical official confirmed the casualty figures.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Iraq's dwindling Christian community, which is estimated at 400,000 to 600,000 people, has often been targeted by al Qaeda and other insurgents.
The latest bombings came amid a massive military operation in Iraq's western desert as authorities try to hunt down insurgents who have stepped up attacks across Iraq, sending violence to levels not seen since 2008.
Along with Christians, other targets for extremists include civilians in restaurants, cafes or crowded public areas, as well as Shi'ites and members of the Iraqi security forces, who are targeted in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Shi'ite-led government and stir up sectarian tensions.
The Christmas Day attacks brought the total number of people killed so far this month in Iraq to 426.
According to UN estimates, more than 8,000 people have been killed since the start of the year.