Iraqi Christians Celebrate Christmas 10 Years After al-Qaeda Massacre at Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad

Barbed wire and blast walls protect worshippers at the Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad, where 58 people died in an al-Qaeda attack in October 2010 / SOFIA BARBARANI

Nawras Sabah William stopped celebrating Christmas in 2010 after he watched al-Qaeda gunmen murder 58 people at the Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad.

That evening the pews were full of churchgoers eager to listen to the sermon. By 11pm almost half of the congregation had been killed by suicide bombers, live fire and grenades.

Then 18, Mr William watched in horror from inside the church sacristy as his friends, neighbours and two priests bled to death. Six harrowing hours later he was among 60 survivors of one of the worst massacres of Iraqi Christians.

“I couldn’t feel the spirit of Christmas again,” he told The Times in Baghdad. “No one thinks they’re going to go to church and never come home.”

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SOURCE: The Sunday Times, Sofia Barbarani

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