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Published: December 25, 2013
BAGHDAD — At least 26 people were killed and 38 others were wounded on Wednesday when a car bomb exploded in a parking lot near St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in a southern neighborhood of Baghdad, according to police and medical officials.
The bomb detonated at the end of Christmas prayers as worshipers were leaving the church in Dora, the officials said.
The victims, most of them Christians, included women and children, as well as a number of police officers posted to guard the church.
A few minutes before the bombing, and barely half a mile away, a series of three other explosions in a market in an Assyrian Christian neighborhood killed 11 people and wounded 22.
Khaled Yacoub, a parishioner at St. John’s, said he had not gone to the church for a long time out of fear, but decided to attend Christmas services with his wife and two children after hearing assurances that he would be safe. “During the Mass, we heard explosions nearby,” he said.
The priest said he would shorten the liturgy so the worshipers could leave early. While taking pictures in the church garden with his children, Mr. Yacoub said, he heard a huge explosion in the parking lot as people were walking to their cars.
“People were running around,” Mr. Yacoub said. “I caught my kids and entered the church. They were crying.” A woman in the church who had been wounded in her legs was asking for help, he said.
He said, weeping: “The priest was talking about peace. He told us that we have to be Iraqi before Christians, and we must love each other.”
His wife, Sahar Yousif, said: “I wasn’t encouraging the Christians to leave the country, but today am rethinking. I do not know who was behind this targeting, but we will not believe the words of brotherhood and peace and coexistence in Iraq anymore.”
Iraqi security forces said they were providing extra security at churches on Christmas and were searching those entering. One police officer stationed near St. John’s said he did not know how the bomb-rigged car made its way into the church parking lot.
Many Christians living in Baghdad and in other provinces traveled in recent days to the Iraqi Kurdistan region to celebrate Christmas and the new year, fearing just this sort of attack.
In other sectarian violence on Wednesday, six Shiite pilgrims were killed and 11 others were wounded when gunmen attacked their bus on a highway southeast of Baghdad. An improvised explosive device hit Shiite pilgrims north of Baghdad, killing five and wounding 11, according to the police.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: December 25, 2013
An earlier version of this article, as well as the headline, misstated the location of the church where worshipers were attacked. It is in a southern neighborhood of Baghdad, not south of Baghdad.
A version of this article appears in print on December 26, 2013, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Worshipers Are Targeted at a Christmas Service in Baghdad.

Crusade !!

The plight of Christians in the middle east and the silence on the part of so many regarding their plight is sickening. The infidels are once again trampling on the holy places and driving out the children of God by grace out of the very lands our Lord and his apostles and early disciples throughout the golden age of early Christianity walked. They are building temples to a false god of violence and cruelty in places of churches. It would be sad to see  Christians disappear from the middle East. And by the way that priest is wrong, ones designation as a child of God by the grace of holy baptism and ones identity as a Christian should always come before our identity with any given nation; we are sons of God and heirs of eternal life and carry within us something infidels do not--the life of the Trinity that they mock within our souls--and that gives us a claim to citizenship in a Kingdom not of this world that transcends Iraq, America or anyplace else.
The evangelical apocalyptic millenialist nutjobs who dare call themselves 'Christians' (like W, Hagee, and the rest of the lying heretics - the military is full of these loons) were and continue to be at the forefront of the US/Israel policy of invasion and occupation in the Middle East. Of course, none of these nutjobs consider any of these ancient true Christians, like the Copts, the Chaldeans, the Melkites and Marons among others to be Christians at all, and are not interested in their plight in the least, and are probably quite pleased at the results. It's sick.   
Cunctas, you've got that right. W ignored this in Iraq and Afghanistan.