Sadly, we rarely hear more than a peep from Muslims when their fellow Muslims slaughter Christians or Jews. (I'm waiting for the token press release from ISNA.)
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least seven Iraqi Catholics died Sunday when police stormed a Baghdad church where gunmen were holding dozens of parishioners hostage, threatening to kill them if al Qaeda prisoners were not released.
The U.S. military said between seven and 10 hostages and seven members of the Iraqi security forces, as well as five to seven attackers, were killed in the rescue operation.
Witnesses reported seeing many bodies inside the church after the gunmen wearing suicide vests threw grenades or blew themselves up as Iraqi forces stormed the building.
The insurgents laid siege to one of Baghdad's biggest churches as more than 100 parishioners attended Sunday mass in a central district near the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to embassies and the Iraqi government.
U.S. military officials watched the rescue operation from cameras in hovering helicopters.
Lieutenant Colonel Eric Bloom, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said three militants detonated suicide vests as Iraq forces entered the church. He said a total of 120 hostages were held by the assailants, adding that 30 people were wounded.
Colonel Kadhim Basheer Saleh, an Iraqi civil defence spokesman, said 15 civilians, four policemen and eight attackers were killed.
Al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack on "the dirty place of the infidel which Iraqi Christians have long used as a base to fight Islam." Read more.