Christians are under attack in Iraq this Christmas, with a series of car bombs targeting a Catholic church and Christian neighborhoods, killing 39 and wounding 60.
The first three bombs went off in a marketplace south of Baghdad in an Assyrian Christian neighborhood, The New York Times reports. Those bombs killed 11 and wounded 22.
Moments later, just a half mile away, terrorists detonated a car bomb as Catholics left St. John’s Catholic Church in Dura, killing 26 and wounding 38. Some of the victims were women and children, and most were Christians, though some were also police officers guarding the service, the Times reports.
“The priest was talking about peace,” one weeping witness, who had avoided church for years because of fears for his family, told the Times. “He told us that we have to be Iraqi before Christians and we must love each other.”
Iraq provided extra security for Christians this Christmas. Still, many travel to Kurdistan to celebrate in a safer region.
Elsewhere in the country, attacks killed 11 and wounded 22 Muslims.