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Last Updated: Monday, 7 January 2008, 15:15 GMT
Christian sites targeted in Mosul
Bomb damage outside a monastery in Mosul
Two churches and a monastery were targeted in Mosul
Iraq's minority Christian population has been targeted in a series of apparently coordinated attacks in Mosul.

Bombs exploded outside three churches and a monastery in the northern Iraqi city on Sunday, wounding four people.

The explosions struck on Epiphany Sunday - an important date in the Eastern Christian calendar.

Christians form around 3% of the Iraqi population although many have left, fleeing religious persecution.

The first explosion happened in the early afternoon - after the Sunday service was over - outside the Chaldean Church of St Paul.

The blast broke windows in the building and damaged its surrounding fence.

A few minutes later, four people were wounded in a bomb attack outside Mosul's Assyrian church of the Virgin Mary.

The third explosion was outside a monastery in the centre of Mosul.

Two hours later, two bombs exploded outside the Chaldean church of Maskanta.

Anger

Mosul is traditionally a religiously mixed city.

Iraqi translator Omer, who lives in Mosul, told the BBC news website that people were upset at the attack on the city's tolerant traditions.

"People are really angry and sad about what happened, but no one dares show that in public because they are afraid of the armed groups."

Iraq has one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

However, according to official figures, numbers have slumped from around 800,000 in the 1990s to between 400,000 and 600,000 now.



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