By Sarah Mac Donald - 26 December, 2013
Thirty-seven people were killed and another fifty were wounded on Christmas Day in two bomb attacks on Christian areas of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The first bomb went off in a crowded outdoor market in the Christian district of Dora.
Minutes later a bomb in a parked car exploded outside a nearby church as worshippers were leaving Christmas Mass.
According to Reuters, Ahmed Edan, a policeman on duty in the area of the attacks, said “A car parked near the church exploded when the families were hugging each other goodbye before leaving. The blast was powerful,” he said.
“Bodies of women, girls and men were lying on the ground covered in blood. Others were screaming and crying while they were trying to save some of their wounded relatives.”
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks
The US embassy in Baghdad condemned the bombings, saying in a statement that Christians in Iraq had suffered “deliberate and senseless targeting by terrorists for many years, as have many other innocent Iraqis”.
Al Qaeda-linked militants have stepped up attacks on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-led government and anyone seen as supporting it in recent months.
More than 8,000 people have been killed this year according to the United Nations.