An Iraqi archbishop expressed concern Wednesday over what he called a “campaign of killings and deportations” against Christians in the northern city of Mosul after police reported seven Christians killed in separate attacks this month.
A female suicide bomber also blew herself up near government offices in Baqouba, northeast of the capital, killing 11 people, Iraqi officials said.
The violence in both cities occurred despite U.S.-Iraqi operations launched over the summer aimed at routing al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgents from remaining strongholds north of the capital.
Iraqi police in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, have reported finding the bullet-riddled bodies of seven Christians in separate attacks so far in October, the latest a day laborer found Wednesday.
The others included a clothing store owner, a teenager, two other day laborers, a pharmacy employee and a handicapped man who owns a spare parts store, police said. Iraqis have their religions listed on government-issued ID cards.
“We are worried about the campaign of killings and deportations against the Christian citizens in Mosul,” Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako said in a statement.
“Such violations are damaging the national unity,” Sako said. “The Christians want only to live in peace and harmony and to work together with all Iraqis for the benefit of Iraq.”
Sako is based in the northern city of Kirkuk but has overseen the Christian community in Mosul since the killing of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, whose body was found in March after he was kidnapped by gunmen following Mass.
The Christian community has been estimated at 3 percent of Iraq's 26 million people, or about 800,000 Christians.