2 More Christians Murdered in Iraq

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MOSUL, Iraq, OCT. 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Two Christian men were killed Saturday in Mosul, contributing to a "climate of panic" among the small community there, reports AsiaNews.it.

Hazim Thomaso Youssif, 40, and Ivan Nuwya, 15, were both killed in the Iraqi city, contributing to a long list of attacks against Christians in the war-torn country. Youssif was ambushed in front of his clothing store, and Nuwya was shot to death in front of his home, located near the local mosque of Alzhara.

A source for AsiaNews in Mosul reported that there is a "climate of panic" among the Christian community there, and that the city "has become the holocaust of the Christians."

On Sept. 2 a Christian doctor was kidnapped and killed in Iraq, even after his family had paid the requested ransom. The same happened to another Christian only two days earlier.

In February, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was abducted outside of a church where he had led the Way of the Cross; it was a Friday of Lent. During the kidnapping, his three companions were killed.

For days there was no news from the archbishop or his kidnappers. Finally, after a phone call from the assailants, the archbishop's body was found March 13 in a shallow grave. He was 65.

Forty-seven Christians were killed in Iraq in 2007, including three priests.

The Christian community has already dwindled to less than half its number from five years ago. Some 1 million Christians lived in Iraq in 2003; today that number is barely 400,000.