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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 16:50 GMT
Pope condemns Iraq church attacks
Bombed Mosul church
A church in Mosul burns after being attacked by insurgents
Pope John Paul II has spoken out against attacks on Iraq's Christian community after the bombing of two churches in the northern city of Mosul.

The frail pontiff told a congregation in the Vatican that he prayed Iraqis would find "reconciliation and peace".

Militants stormed an Armenian Catholic and Chaldean church in Mosul on Tuesday, forcing the congregations to leave before setting off bombs inside.

Attacks targeting Iraq's Christian minority have become more frequent.

Churches in Baghdad have also been bombed recently.

The Pope said he felt spiritually close to "the faithful, shocked by the attacks".

He was speaking to mark the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a key date in the Catholic calendar.

Iraq is home to more than half a million Christians.

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