By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife)– The leader of the Syrian Catholic Church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul condemned Friday, May 7, a deadly bombings targeting Christian students that killed four and reportedly injured up to 180 others.
The attack Sunday, May 2, was “inhumane and inconceivable” said Archbishop Basilios Georges Casmoussa in a statement distributed by Italy-based on-line news agency Adnkronos International (AKI). The names of those killed were not immediately identified.
Three buses of Christian students were targeted by at least one explosion and a car bomb, on a highway outside Mosul, capital of Nineveh province, reports said.
Casmoussa told AKI the violence was designed to provoke “civil war and terror” and was the latest in a long series of attacks that Christians had suffered in the region. “This was not a casual incident,” Casmoussa was quoted as saying.
Earlier, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul Emil Shimoun Nona said there was first an explosion, soon followed by the detonation of a car bomb parked on the roadside just before the caravan entered town.
The last blast was “devastating,” he added. “The column drove through the area every morning to drive these young people, aged between 18 and 26, to the university of Mosul, and maybe that’s precisely why they were an easy target for the terrorists,” Archbishop Nona said in published remarks.
Besides those killed, many Christian youth reportedly suffered serious injuries. There was no immediate known claim of responsibility for the blasts.
Church leaders have said delays in forming a central government following recent elections attributed to the dangerous situation for Christians in the region. Up to 3,000 Christians protested against the violence in the area from where the bombings victims had been traveling to the University of Mosul.
There were at least 750,000 Christians in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion began in 2003, but many have fled the country amid ongoing violence, often linked to Islamic extremists, church groups say.