Iraq suffers deadliest year since 2008. Double Christmas Day church bombings in Baghdad kill 37. Please pray for peace.

Violence is  on the rise in Iraq.

Violence is on the rise in Iraq.

(Washington, D.C.) — As the last of U.S. military forces departed from Iraq one year ago, al-Qaeda and other Radical Islamic movements have launched the worst wave of violence in Iraq in five years.

All Iraqis need our prayers, including the Christians who have been repeatedly targeted by the jihadists.

Two bombing attacks on Christians in Baghdad alone on Christmas Day left 37 people dead and scores wounded.

“Violence in Iraq has reached its worst level since 2008, the UN mission to Baghdad has said, reporting that more than 8,800 Iraqis were killed in 2013,” reports the UK Guardian. “The UN said 7,818 civilians died last year. The total including members of the Iraqi security forces surged to 8,868, with 759 people killed in December alone.”

“Al-Qaida in Iraq has found fertile ground in all this discontent and has attacked the Iraqi government …by killing members of its army, its police forces, its politicians and journalists, as well as its Shia population,” an NGO told the Guardian. “The last six months have seen the massacres of entire families as they sleep or travel to a holy place, sometimes five, sometimes 12 family members at a time….The faults are now as wide and deep as trenches.”

“The spike in violence can be attributed to several factors, including the crackdown by Iraq’s Shia-led government on a Sunni protest camp last April, in which 49 people were shot dead,” the British paper noted. “These killings spawned numerous revenge attacks against Shia targets in Baghdad and across the rest of Iraq. Amid discontent from Iraq’s Sunni minority and Shia majority, the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has in effect given up on cross-sectarian politics. He imprisoned high-profile Sunni politicians and forced others into exile.”

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