Suicide Bomb in Syria’s Christian Center Targeted ‘Belligerent Christians’

ChurchLeaders | 7/15/2019 | Staff
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Last week’s suicide bombing outside an Orthodox Church in Qamishli, regarded as the Christian center of Syria, underscores the region’s volatility and the ongoing threat to Christians. At least 11 people were injured Thursday when a car bomb detonated outside the Virgin Mary Syriac Orthodox Church in Qamishli, along Syria’s northeast border with Turkey.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing, which dented the church’s front gate but didn’t damage the building. Intercepted communications indicate the terrorists were targeting a group of “belligerent Christians.”

Ignatius - Aphrem - II - Syriac - Orthodox

Ignatius Aphrem II, the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, condemned the bombing, tweeting that the “blast creates an atmosphere of anxiety and chaos, yet Christians should remain in their historical homeland.”

Researcher Joan Garcia says the bombing was the eleventh attack in eleven days in Hasakah province and the fourth in a month in Qamishli, which “has for some years been secure from ISIS attacks.” Although Christians are a minority in that city, she says, they exist “peacefully alongside Arab and Kurdish communities.”

Pray - People - Please

“Pray for my people, please”

The church attack shows that Christians are still a key ISIS target in war-torn Syria, say experts. Abdulkarim Omar, an official with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), says ISIS “has a large number of sleeper cells that can wage deadly attacks against civilians in our area, particularly Christians and other minorities.”

Christians - SDF - Victory - ISIS - March

Many Christians have aligned themselves with the SDF, which declared victory over ISIS in March. But as one Syrian whose relative was injured in Thursday’s attack says, “No matter how stable the situation...
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