Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baghdad Massacre - more reports from Iraq

Further to my previous.

AlJazeera reports on the funeral:

Letter from Iraqi friends of mine in England:

Dear Fr John;

I had not bothered to comment this time because I do not see the point however in answer to your question the pictures are true and I would I may like to give you a description of the attack as described by one of the survivors;

At about 5 pm Baghdad time a car exploded outside the Baghdad Stock Exchange (which was by then closed for the day) and the few security guards nearby including the two guarding the Church were drawn towards that explosion at the same time from the opposite side of that building a group of men (8 or 9) moved very quickly towards our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church. That Church has a most impressive Arch (I have enclosed a picture of the outside of the Church) and they shot the 4 guards then quickly made their way into the Church while Holy Mass was being celebrated by 2 young priests and some Deacons as well as about 150 parishioners (young and old, men and women).

I need to say that at the moment of the car explosion outside one of the priests from the Altar asked the people to pray for peace and security for Iraq. A couple of minutes later that poor priest was murdered in a hail of bullets. The terrorist as they entered the Church, throw a number of hand grenades and fired towards the people sitting by the main entrance and killed them all, they then very quickly fired at the Altar killing one of the priests (the one who asked people to pray for peace and security).

At that early stage people were in a state of shock, some were running, others were screaming but most were sitting not knowing what was taking place. The second young priest rushed down from the Altar trying to calm the situation and was trying to speak to the savages but they killed him before he had even finished his sentence.

The 3rd older priest who was in the house next to the Church by now knew something terrible was taking place so he made his way into the Church from the side door and asked parishioners nearby to follow him into the house and away from the Church. However he was shot by the door (he is in a terrible conditions being treated in France along with other seriously wounded survivors from the attack including one Muslim security guard who tried in vain to defend the Church) and the few people who had ran into the corridor were trapped and the terrorist simply throw more hand grenades into that corridor and closed the door behind them killing and wounding everyone in that area (about 12 people were in there).

The terrorists were by now going from one pew to the next killing some people and wounding others. It was random, vicious and senseless violence. They were killing men, women, young and old. The youngest victim was a 4 months old baby boy (I have enclosed his picture for a proof if any was needed of their heartless actions).
The terrorist all the while were shouting God is great and the witness described their eyes as being filled with pure hatred and anger. The terrorists did not try and conceal their faces and apart from one of them the rest were not from Iraq. It is understood that one was from Syria, another from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt and the others did not sound like Arabs {(maybe from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Chechnya) not sure of the actual nationality but they were not Iraqis apart from one} they did not speak with Iraqi dialect but Classical Arabic and believe you me no one in the Arab world speaks with a classical dialect unless they are reading the news on TV or Radio.

The terrorists were in the Church from about 5 pm until 11 pm when their weapons ran out and they began to blow themselves up. They Iraqi Security forces were all the while standing outside paralysed with fear and confusion but by about 10 pm the security forces attacked the Church with huge fire power and no one knows how many innocent people they killed when they stormed the Church but by then most of the terrorist were already dead and they had run out of weapons to use.

At about 1 am the army was sure that all of the terrorist were dead and that they had rescued any of the people who were still alive inside the Church.

One army officer described the scene as follows; “I entered the Church and can hear loud screams of women and children but I could not see them because of the intense smoke, I then slipped and noticed that I slipped in a pool of blood just then I was hit by the most awful smell, it was a smell that I had become familiar with but it was nevertheless awful it was the terrible stench of death. I saw body parts, limbs and many bodies piled up at the entrance. The people there looked like they had been dead for sometime as their bodies had become quite stiff when we tried to move them”.

By the end about 60 people were dead including 2 priests and another 70 were wounded. Very few people were unhurt physically but all of the survivors were damaged psychologically.

There are many hear breaking stories that emerged but I will mention just a few;
The terrorists as they attacked one pew they killed a family that consisted of a Baby boy (4 months old), his mum, his dad and his grand dad.

The terrorists then asked one women hostage to call a local TV station {(Al-Baghdadia) which has since been banned from broadcasting from Iraq, it still beams its pictures from Cairo, however to be honest the station is not involved in any way in the attack as far as we know however the government decided it had to be shut down anyway} she (hostage) read a prepared statement which basically said that unless their (terrorists)demands were met they would blow the Church up in 48 hours and kill all the people inside, that was a lie since they were killing the people already and in large numbers.

The terrorists attacked one pew that had two young sisters, their brother his wife and their 3 year old nephew. The sister in law died instantly however the rest of that family somehow survived that said the child naturally was beside himself with greave for his mother and kept asking her to wake up. A minute later the terrorists returned to that pew and shot the brother in the shoulder and arm so his 3 year old son started screaming and crying telling them enough (KAFEE, KAFEE, KAFEE, Iraqi Arabic for Enough) however for some unknown reason they did not hurt the two women but towards the end of the siege the terrorists returned and shot the brother in the head (so if he was not already dead he was now) and as they were about to shoot him again his three year old son stood up and he took a bullet for his dad however he was shot in the leg and survived. The aunty said the worst thing about it is that throughout this awful situation my sister and I were so terrified we did nothing not even comfort our nephew and this is so difficult to bear on top of our horrendous loss.

Since that attack more Christians have been attacked in Baghdad and despite that our plight does not even warrant a mention in any of the news on the BBC, ITV, Sky or CBS and also CNN. A few days later they all carried short reports and talked about the difficult situation for Iraqi Christians. Our lives our worthless now so the world does nothing because they do not even know we are dying for our faith.

Images from the Church of Our Lady of Salvation:

This received from another priest friend:

We can only weep, pray and hope!
Sr Emmanuel +

Father (Père) Wassim Sabih (Waseem Sabeeh Al-kas Butros)  27 years old
Father (Père) Thaer (Thaer Saad-alla Abdal) 32 years old

were killed during the attack on Our Lady of Salvation Syrian Catholic Church by islamics terrorists during Mass Sunday evening, in Bagdad, October 31, 2010.
Father Rafael Alkotaily was injured during the attack and he is now undergoing a number of surgeries
at Ibn Al-Nafis hospital in Baghdad. 
More than 63 were killed. Another 120 were wounded. Hundreds of dependents are now helpless
Father Thaer
Father Wassim
For the past seven years, the Iraqi Christians have been targeted by waves of attacks on their churches, monasteries, homes, businesses and in persons. A Bishop and Several Priests were killed and even slaughtered in cold blood. Since the events of 2003 more than half the Iraqi Christians fled the country, thousands have been killed, and more than 60 churches, monasteries were bombed.

In less than a week after terrorists’ attacked Iraqi Christians during a Sunday mass in the heart of Baghdad – an incident that killed more than 50 people and injured dozens others, al-Qaeda has threatened to stage more similar attacks on Christians.

In a warning, an al-Qaeda affiliated group, Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), claimed that their attacks were legitimate and that the time had come for Iraqi Christians to face the doors of destruction.

The ISI’s warning has been published on the militant websites in which he warned that his group would soon extirpate and disperse Christians from Iraq.“All Christian centers, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the muhajideen wherever they can reach them,” the statement said. “We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood,” it added.
Yahweh, how countless are my enemies, how countless those who rise up against me,
how countless those who say of me, 'No salvation for him from his God!'Pause
But you, Yahweh, the shield at my side, my glory, you hold my head high.
I cry out to Yahweh; he answers from his holy mountain.Pause
As for me, if I lie down and sleep, I shall awake, for Yahweh sustains me.
I have no fear of people in their thousands upon thousands, who range themselves against me wherever I turn.
Arise, Yahweh, rescue me, my God! You strike all my foes across the face, you break the teeth of the wicked.
In Yahweh is salvation, on your people, your blessing! (Psalms chapter 3)
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying,
"How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
(Revelation 6 /9-11)
Our Lady of Salvation Church: First Mass after the attack:

Some further videos sent to me by my Iraqi friend. I have no idea what is being said, but the state of shock is clearly visible, particularly in one of the young women who were among the very few who were not hurt but they lost their brother and his 3 year old son was wounded in the leg.

Pray for peace in Iraq, and that our Christian brothers and sisters will not be deserted by the 'Christian' west in their hour of need.


  1. Thank you Father John for sharing this story...I will pray for the souls of the departed and for their families...I hope the unrest in Iraq is restored soon...God bless you!

  2. May God bring their murderers to justice.

    "And to you who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with the angels of his power: [8] In a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thess 1: 7-8)

  3. Justice, yes, but no harm should be wished upon those who perpetrated this, certainly no eternal harm. The Lord wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth. Some are culpable in their disbedience to the gospel, others not. Who are we to judge? May the Merciful Lord have mercy on all who persecute us. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."




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