One report concerning the state of the Church after the security forces stormed in to attempt to rescue the Christians is particularly horrifying. It came from a police officer, "It's a horrible scene. More than 50 people were killed. The suicide vests were filled with ball bearings to kill as many people as possible. You can see human flesh everywhere. Flesh was stuck to the top roof of the hall. Many people went to the hospitals without legs and hands." It is time for an international outcry of Catholics and other Christians. We must stand with our Christian brothers and sisters.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Catholic Online) - They gathered in Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church for an evening Mass. They are members of an increasingly besieged and forgotten minority in Iraq, Catholic Christians. Their herosm and love for the Lord has inspired them to continue to practice the ancient faith in the midst of what is a steadily deteriorating situation for them in this land they have called home for centuries.
Our Lady of Salvation Church is no stranger to violence. Churches have been bombed before in Iraq, including Our Lady of Salvation. The Christian faithful have had to contend with an increasingly hostile culture. However, never before have they experienced the horror of what happened this past Sunday when terrorists invaded a Church as the Holy Mass was set to begin, killed the priest and held the worshippers hostage for four hours. It ended with at least 52 dead, others injured, and our brothers and sisters in Iraq devastated.
Reports confirm that 120 of the faithful had gathered to hear the Gospel proclaimed, participate in the Liturgy, and receive the Holy Eucharist. There were women, men and children. One eyewitness who had been inside the Church when the terrorists entered the sanctuary told European news sources that the armed terrorists "came into the prayer hall and immediately killed the priest". Out of fear the witness would not identify himself. However, he also attested to the brutality of the terrorists. He indicated that they beat the worshippers and then herded them into an inner hall.
Late Sunday evening a statement was posted on a militant site claiming responsibility for the evil attack. The group called itself the "Islamic State of Iraq". If this is the responsible group, sources affirm that it is linked to Al-Qaida in Iraq. The writers of the posting threatened to "Exterminate Iraqi Christians" if two Muslim women were not freed. The women referenced by the extremists are the subject of two very different claims.
Muslim Extremists claim the two women were Muslim converts. Christians maintain they were Christians kidnapped by Muslims. Reports indicate that the women in question have already been found by the police. They have denied any conversion to Islam and are in hiding. However, the Muslim militants demand the release of the women and declared in the message "We direct our speech to the Vatican and say that as you met with Christians of the Mideast a few days ago to support them and back them, now you have to pressure them to release our sisters, otherwise death will reach you all."
An Iraqi man whose wife was inside the Church and escaped harm told reporters he believed this act of terror was just the beginning of a new wave of violence against Christians in Iraq, "I expect the coming attacks will be worse in the future since the government is doing nothing to protect us. We are peaceful people and never harmed any of our fellow countrymen, so we do not understand the reasons behind such evil attacks.Many Christians now believe that they do not have any hope in Iraq and the best thing to survive is to seek another country to live in."
The Muslim extremists held the 120 Christians in their Church for four hours. The Church was finally stormed by Iraqi security forces. When the entire horrid affair was over, at least 52 people were dead and many others severely wounded. Once again, as can be expected, there are conflicting reports concerning just how the deaths occurred, whether at the hands of the terrorists, or in the rescue operation.
The Iraqi minister of defense, Abdul-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi, told sources that the hostages were killed or wounded by the Muslim terrorists who had set off suicide vests in the sanctuary. He said "This was a successful operation with a minimum of casualties, and killing all the terrorists." Another government official indicated the police arrested eight of the terrorists and confirmed they were associated with the "Islamic State of Iraq" affiliated with a terrorist group which calls itself "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia".
The Iraqi force who attempted to rescue the Christians from the Muslim terrorists is an anti-terrorist unit referred to as "The Golden Force". Reports indicate that after four hours they "swarmed the church by helicopter and sent in grenades and smoke grenades, but were rebuffed by the terrorists.." So, they then stormed the Church from the ground.
One report concerning the state of the Church after the security forces stormed in to attempt to rescue the Christians is particularly horrifying. It came from a police officer, "It's a horrible scene. More than 50 people were killed. The suicide vests were filled with ball bearings to kill as many people as possible. You can see human flesh everywhere. Flesh was stuck to the top roof of the hall. Many people went to the hospitals without legs and hands."
We urge the global readers of Catholic Online to pray for the dead, pray for their families, pray for the wounded and pray for - and stand in solidarity with - our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq. It is time for an international outcry.
By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Iran wants two things from the United States. The first is a treaty, the second is our destruction. Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei explained this in a speech on Aug. 17 which has now been published online. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Joint ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
An ominous warning from ISIS revealed a possible "new killing style" to be carried out by the group during their captive's execution. A recent video featured prisoners surrounded by militants on horseback. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - A new way of ... continue reading
By Hannah Marfil
After the airstrike on a residential area located in Douma, near Damascus, a little Syrian girl was trapped under the rubbles of her former home. She was among the lucky ones after her whole family was feared dead of the attack by the Syrian army supposedly to kill the ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
The Islamic State is notorious for their mistreatment of young girls, who are routinely beaten into subjugation in order to become sexual slaves. Not as well known is ISIS' monstrous treatment of boys and young men, who they forcibly recruit to serve as soldiers for ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Several new online photos feature hooded ISIS fighters in the act of stoning and throwing members of the LGBT community from a roof. LGBT groups in the territories held by ISIS experience barbaric treatment from the Jihadist group. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Plumes of smoke rose from the ancient temple of Baalshamin after ISIS militants deliberately bombarded the 2,000-year-old temple. The Jihadist group claims they will continue to destroy the rest of ancient Palmyra. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ISIS ... continue reading
By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
ISIS continues to recruit young boys to become a cub of the caliphate. The terror group has reached a new low in the latest published video showing a three-year-old boy joyfully beheading a teddy bear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The knife-wielding boy and ... continue reading
By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Shocking photographs have revealed the haunting legacy that decades of war that has left behind. Millions of landmines in schools and fields kill and damage dozens of children every day. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to estimates, up to a ... continue reading
By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Graphic images displaying an alleged ISIS jihadist tortured by a Syrian rebel group has made it rounds over social media. The jihadist is claimed to have been captured from the northern region of Aleppo and tortured by having a rope bound around his throat and ... continue reading
By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
A Syrian man's family and relatives were still mourning his loss, entering the last day of his wake when the man turned up alive and returned home. According to The Daily Mail, such a case is not uncommon in that country. His family was delighted to see him alive, ... continue reading