Friday, February 29, 2008

Gunmen kidnap Iraqi Chaldean Catholic archbishop

From Reuters:

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Gunmen kidnapped the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul on Friday in the northern Iraqi city and killed his driver and two guards, police said.

"He was kidnapped in the al-Nour district in eastern Mosul when he left a church. Gunmen opened fire on the car, killed the other three and kidnapped the archbishop," said provincial police spokesman Brigadier-General Khaled Abdul Sattar.

An assistant to Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad and spiritual leader of Iraq's Catholics, said they had heard three people were killed and they did not know the fate of the archbishop, Paulos Faraj Rahho.

Chaldeans belong to a branch of the Roman Catholic Church that practices an ancient Eastern rite. Most of its members are in Iraq and Syria, and they form the biggest Christian community in Iraq.

While violence across much of Iraq has dropped in recent months, U.S. and Iraqi officials say that Mosul remains the last urban stronghold of al Qaeda, which they identify as the biggest threat to the country's security. . .

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