From Atlas Shrugs:
Misunderstanders of Islam strike again. Horrible. Expect the media to report it every which way but the truth. Jihad.
A siege by Iraqi security forces at one of Baghdad's largest Catholic churches ended on the night of October 31, leaving at least 37 people dead and twelve injured. A group of gunmen wearing suicide vests walked into the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation during Sunday Mass. They held more than 50 parishioners hostage for several hours and threatened to kill them if al Qaeda prisoners were not released. The siege was finally broken on that evening when Iraqi security forces stormed the church. Iraqi spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi claimed that five gunmen were killed during the rescue operation as well as one policeman a parishioner and one of the priests celebrating Mass. The Christian community in Iraq has suffered persecution since the war. Many thousands have fled abroad.
Christian clergy and lay people have been kidnapped, murdered, and raped by Muslim terrorists and criminal gangs in Iraq, sparking the exodus of Christians from the country.Pope Benedict is speaking out and calling on the world community to help end the savagery occurring in the Middle East.
Via Battle Beads Blog:
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf at the blog What Does The Prayer Really Say calls us to prayer and also further details the horrific events which transpired:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A deadly militant siege of a Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, Iraq, was a "savage" act of "absurd violence," Pope Benedict XVI said.
The pope urged international and national authorities and all people of good will to work together to end the "heinous episodes of violence that continue to ravage the people of the Middle East."
"In a very grave attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral of Baghdad, dozens of people were killed and injured, among them two priests and a group of faithful gathered for Sunday Mass," the pope said of the Oct. 31 incident.
"I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, which is even more savage because it struck defenseless people, gathered in God's house, which is a house of love and reconciliation," he said after praying the Angelus with pilgrims in St. Peter's Square Nov. 1, the feast of All Saints.
He expressed his closeness to Iraqi Christians, who have suffered another attack in their homeland, and he encouraged the nation's priests and lay faithful "to be strong and steady in hope."
Pope Benedict renewed his urgent call for peace in the Middle East.
While peace may be a gift of God, "it is also the result of efforts by people of good will and national and international institutions," he said.
"May everyone unite their efforts so as to end all violence," he said.
Armed militants wearing explosives stormed the cathedral Oct. 31 while an estimated 100 faithful were celebrating evening Mass, news reports said.
The terrorists first set off a car bomb across the street in front of the Baghdad Stock Exchange, which left at least two people dead. Then they stormed the church, killing another two people, according to reports.
The militants, who said they were part of the Islamic State of Iraq -- a group with suspected ties to al-Qaida -- held parishioners and priests hostage in the hopes of leveraging the release of prisoners from their network.
The terrorists demanded prisoners linked to al-Qaida be set free from detention in Iraq and Egypt and they threatened to blow up the church if military forces attempted to break the siege, according to Italian state media RAI.
Iraqi security forces ringed the church and U.S. military flew overhead in helicopters.
After a standoff that lasted hours, Iraqi forces stormed the cathedral and the ensuing firefight and a series of explosions left a large number of people dead and injured.
The Associated Press reported Nov. 1 that at least 39 people were killed, which included hostages, Iraqi security forces and suspected militants. Other agencies were reporting 52 people dead and 56 people wounded.
One report said Iraqi church sources included three young priests among those dead. Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad told Vatican Radio Oct. 31 that at least one child was killed in the incident.
During the siege, he asked people to pray that God would give the hostage-takers the grace to take into consideration the women, children and all the innocent who were threatened by their actions.
Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told reporters at the time of the siege that "it's a very sad situation, which confirms the difficult situation in which Christians live in the country."
"Christians live with great insecurity and we express our solidarity with them," he said.
Iraqi bishops had just participated in a special Synod of Bishops Oct. 10-24 with the pope at the Vatican; the synod drew attention to the challenges facing Christians in the Middle East.
During the synod, Iraqi bishops said kidnappings for ransom, bombings of churches and other Christian buildings and a general lack of security have made life so precarious for the vulnerable Christian community that about half have left their homeland for safer destinations in the past seven years.
At least one bishop raised the question of systematic attacks as part of a "plan" to drive all Christians from the Middle East.
You all have heard by now about the terrorist attack on the Catholic Church in Bagdad. Here is The Catholic Herald on the attack.Today and tomorrow are solemn Holy Days for Catholics; All Saints Day today and All Souls Day tomorrow. I can't help but wonder if the horror of yesterday not only happened because the islamists were targeting Catholic Christians, but also due to it being the eve of these Holy days.
Christians have been taking it on the chin in Iraq for a very long time.
9 Islamic terrorists with suicide bombs entered the church. The first thing they did was shoot one of the three priests they would kill. The demanded the release of al-Qaeda members held in Iraq and Egypt.
Al-Qaeda seems to be more in the news these days.
37 were killed and 56 wounded.
This is speculation on my part, but I wonder if targeting the Catholic Church specifically in this attack is blow back of some kind following the Synod on the Middle East.
The people killed in that church may have been killed because they were Catholic Christians, not just because they were a random easy target.
If they were targeted also because of hatred of Christ and his disciples, then the people who died, died as martyrs.
On the Feast of All Saints, when we celebrate also those whose names we do not now know, pray for the repose of the souls of those who die who did not die as martyrs.
Pray to the holy martyrs in heaven to help us in this time of need.
Please join me in praying for the dead, the wounded and their loved ones along with the innocent survivors of that despicable act of evil. Please pray for an end to islamic terrorism.
May God shine the light of His love into the hearts of the wicked and heal them so they will no longer wish to harm innocent people in the name of their own twisted beliefs. May we see peace and true religious freedom in our lifetimes. May people of faith have no fear and be able to worship the Lord in safety wherever they may be. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
UPDATE: The death toll is now at 58 and the evil maniacs behind this claim they committed this atrocity as a "counter attack" against the Iraqi Christians (you know, because they committed the grave offense of not being muslim). CNN and other MSM dupes continue to ignore that this was an islamic jihadi attack where they purposely killed people because they were Christian.
h/t Jihad Watch