November 1st, 2010
09:55 AM ET

Death toll rises to 58 in Iraq church standoff

The death toll from a hostage standoff at a Catholic church in Baghdad has risen to 58, police officials with the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Monday.

Seventy-five others were wounded in the attack by armed gunmen Sunday, the officials said, adding that most of the casualties were women and children. Two priests were also among the dead, as well as 17 security officers and five of the gunmen.

The hours-long standoff ended Sunday after Iraqi security forces stormed the Sayidat al-Nejat church.

Eight suspects were arrested.

"All the marks point out that this incident carries the fingerprints of al Qaeda," Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader Obeidi said on state television Sunday.

He said that most of the hostages were killed or wounded when the kidnappers set off explosives inside the church.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Iraq • Violence

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Nadaphan

    Interesting topic and questions I think that more endepindent reporting would be good and is key to covering any international conflict or any issue, national or international. A vast majority of U.S. journalists in Iraq are/were embedded reporters (to my understanding), and while I wouldn't be the one to volunteer leaving the protection that the military offers in a place of war and conflict, in order to tell the whole story, we need journalists who are brave enough to. In 2005, The New York Times also uncovered some information that revealed that many T.V. news stations were airing or not significantly editing propoganda packages sent by the government in 2003, and that would be something that would need to change, too. A move toward more endepindent reporting and more Americans reading news sources that don't contain AP reports would not only be good for coverage and American democracy, but it would revitalize the field of journalism and create more jobs for journalists if people weren't satisfied merely with what the AP or other syndicated sources are handing out.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  2. rena

    This massacre was against Assyrians Christians and Catholics in Iraq. I am an assyrian and this is an event that has been taking place for generations. We Will not allow this ethnic and religious cleansing of my people any longer and something must be done. Think of the innocent lives that were taken away and imagine how hard it is for our minority group. Iraq is our homeland since B.C. Era From the land of mesoptamia and babylon.. but we have always been threatened by Islam. Many are being forced out of our homeland due to fear.. Please help us... fill this form out so Obama can recognize whats going on. http://www.assyrianamericancoalition.org/takeaction.php

    November 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • Aishling

      My God! How Terrible!You mean that foreign cinmapoes would do the investment, the drilling, the pipelines, and the government would simply collect the taxes?You know, like the North Sea?Clearly vile, I agree.

      April 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Iraq is a big land and has many bordering countries and a population of many Races, and many Religions and Faiths that were known or unknown beliefs...all of those lived in harmony during S-adam regime and every body was practicing his rights with out fear or with just a little fear But now having messed up the whole setup and the control of this mixed nation that were under a secular umbrella has cleverly for some ended it to be handed to Religious extremes at all sides of borders who are now fighting each other for taking control over the country or having it divided in to pieces.
    so what ever this endless blo-odshed is resulting now is because of such action has become a burden on America and the Americans whether this was planed by them or have been misled by Kurds or by those countries who were fearing S-adam regime in the area...which I am sure their turn would be coming sooner or latter to pay their dues to humanity as a whole for the losses and grieve they have caused all those years of emb-argo and followed by the brutal inv-asion...

    November 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • Muneef

      The saying goes as this:
      There is a day for every Dog..
      Another one says:
      Who ever has a house made out of glass, should not throw people with stones.

      America is hosting and backing up two countries of the most extremes in Religions and you tell us you are against extremes ?
      Who are you fooling ? You say one thing and do the opposite and that's why you hardly can be believed by any one country.. Your total policies are only serving those two extremes who made suffering to all through the whole life I had known in the middle east...

      November 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Viva USA.
      You just reminded me of a great song I heard during my youth.

      November 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • Muneef


      November 2, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  4. OutsideTheBox

    Simple Fact:
    Who brought us into the War in Iraq? (thankfully FORMER) President G. G. Bush. What did he call it, and what has he since been labeled? Crusade. A Christian Crusade, mind you. This is in conflict with a religion which was already set in place, Islam. Because of this Christian, a said to be MILLIONS have been killed in Iraq. Thank your Christian buddy for that, and STOP insulting those who follow Islam when one of your own believers is the one responsible for all of this murder and chaos. As is said in the Bible, Jesus also carried his own sword. Read the Bible and the Quran, but read both of the words and get off of your high horses to think that a religion that teaches such love and beauty, also shows doubt in those who do not so choose to believe in your savior.

    November 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  5. OutsideTheBox

    this is in regards to people's stereotypes of those who partcice the Islamic Religion. I see such ignorance and spite. Why? Do you not pay mind to all of the foiled attempts on our land? Do you know who the majority of the individuals are who disrupt these plots? MUSLIMS. Yes, MUSLIMS!!! So, just because a Holy Book does not agree with your own, you now choose to chastise those who follow their religion as evil and mean-spirited. Wow, such foolishness. Maybe you should read the older versions of your Bible, the one which was not so mistranslated as the current one. The words are somewhat different, which can be interpreted differently. I do not follow any certain organized religion, for I feel that is the main cause behind such strife in this world. I am merely standing up for those who are so wrongly accused by the Fundamentalist Genties. Open your eyes....please. I do fear the reflection this will have on our National Electrions here in the U.S.

    November 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  6. blin

    death toll rises? has it ever gone down?

    November 2, 2010 at 5:48 am |
  7. David Johnson

    The death toll from a hostage standoff at a Catholic church in Baghdad has risen to 58, police officials with the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Monday.

    Seventy-five others were wounded in the attack by armed gunmen Sunday, the officials said, adding that most of the casualties were women and children. Two priests were also among the dead, as well as 17 security officers and five of the gunmen.

    Hmmm... Tell me believers, how would this have been different, if there was no god?

    If there is no difference between god and no god, then what good is god?

    November 1, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
  8. Enoch

    Babylon the Beast wanted Christian blood on this very day, called Halloween. The souls of those perished Christian Martyrs are not lost, but the souls of 5 million sons and daughters of demons are.

    November 1, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • Yeah

      Any "God" that could lose 5 million souls to "demons" is not very powerful...

      November 1, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
    • Muneef

      Do you mean there is a myth that on Halloween a certain number of christians has to die ?
      Well in such a case this was a conspiracy by those who believe in the beast of Babylon and not by the Iraqi police?

      November 2, 2010 at 7:08 am |
  9. Tahrir

    Support NOOIC to make a strong demand to the Iraqi Government for an End of ALL Targeting and Killing of Iraqi Christians inside War Zone Iraq..

    If this was a Muslim Masque I bet everyone the Iraqi Government would NOT have taken a Quick Decision to Storm the Muslim Masque!

    However, because Iraqi Government Hates Iraqi Christians, Dislike, and does NOT Support Iraqi Christians, they made a Quick unfavorable and not responsible decision to storm the Christian Church & Kill whomever, not concerned of the Christians Lives as they are for Muslim lives.

    Iraqi Christians are treated less than third (3rd) class citizens, No Rights of Freedom of speech or expression, thought, opinion etc., No Rights to Practice Religion, Hateful of Christians, when in Reality its the Christians that were there LONG before the Arabs, its a matter of facts, Iraqi Christians still speak the ARAMAIC Language, the same exact language as Jesus Christ Spoke (our GOD), the descendant of Abraham, from the Land of the Chaldean "UR".

    GOD Bless, Protect and Rescue the Iraqi Christians.

    P.S. I Mr. Kalasho consider the current Iraqi Government as Terrorist, as they support Terrorists see [Ara] Iraqi Leader Muqtada al-Sadr on Elections 2010 – مقتدى الصدر, the leader we (USA) have put in power in War Zone Iraq. Its a Shame: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92Mc9_LI7n0

    November 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • Enoch

      I agree with you, Tahrir! With the church, the freshmen of the Iraqi police department have got a perfect training ground...

      November 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  10. Tahrir

    Support NOOIC to make a strong demand to the Iraqi Government to force an End of ALL Target Killing of Iraqi Christians inside War Zone Iraq http://www.nooic.org/ Please pray for Iraqi Christians to be saved & rescued by GOD. Thank you.

    November 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • Muneef


      Well you surely came to the wrong place as non of those here pray or even believe in God, you must have thought like me first that I would find religious faith hearted people needed guidance but to my shook they have no belief and can not pray because they have nothing to pray to for you even if they wanted to. They are so called Self Worshippers..

      But guess just to fail you I am Arab Muslim would pray from all my heart to all Iraqies from Christians and Jews and Muslims and all God's Faiths that known to be un-evil beliefs since understand you have Satanic followers as well?

      November 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  11. Muneef

    It is unbelievable what is happening in the world today, no one can even pray to God in peace and it is no longer safe either to attend Friday prayers at Mosques nor Sunday at Churches or Saturdays at Jew worship places??
    How could any God fearing people do that no matter what faith others follow ??
    But after all thanks to those who messed up the world with hidden agendas in the name of new world order? Well we see now what world order we are getting as a result of their conspiracies and their dismantling of stubble countries that now became uncontrollable and fires of same becoming bigger and bigger every day and would be active world wide??
    Just hope no one takes advantage of the attacks against religious houses to put the blame on atheists and pagans for doing so? Well isn't that appropriate now to frame those as to others being framed?

    November 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • Reality


      One more time, scroll up to find the Five Steps for curing all that is wrong with Islam!!

      November 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  12. Frogist

    War is hell. My thoughts go out to the families of those killed or those hurt.

    November 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  13. ahmed al-Zahrani

    Al-Qaeda has neither respect for human being nor for divine places, in Iraq Sunni terrorists had bombed the holy shrine of Shia in Samara and now they assaulted Catholic church, the Egyptian government is fueling conflict between Muslims and Christian Copts according with “divide to rule”
    Egyptian intelligent services is manipulating terrorists and use al-Qaeda as “cat paw” to get political opponents inside Egypt, it will not be surprise if the Egyptian intelligent services “export” terror to Iraq!
    Saudis do export local terror to Iraq and overseas with bless of highest clergy men in Mecca since 7 years.

    November 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • Reality


      The Shiites are no better than the Sunnis or any other Islamic cult, all members of which are basically Bred, Born and Brainwashed in approving koranic-driven terror to achieve the goal of Islamic domination of the globe.

      But there is a quick cure in the Five Steps to Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Mumbo Jumbo:

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs/tenets.

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave attended to by his wives before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Accept these five steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      November 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  14. Tyler V

    Reality, as a Christian I believe Islam is wrong, but I think we should also be willing to recognize the massive difference between mainstream Islam and Islamic fundamentalism. Just a thought.

    I also hope that the response of the Christians in Baghdad is that of grace and forgiveness rather than hate or retaliation. The gospel is never more profoundly presented than when Christians show forgiveness and intercede for their persecuiters with prayer. I hope they learn from the Amish response to the school house shooting a couple of years back.

    November 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Reality


      As noted many times, Muslims should burn their copies of the koran for the 1400 year old con job that is pulled on them daily by the imams and ayatollahs. Christians should burn their copies of the NT for the 2000 year old con job that has been perpetuated on them by popes, bishops, priests, ministers and evangelicals. And Orthodox Jews should burn their copies of the OT/Torah for the 6000 year old con job pulled on them by their past and current rabbis.

      November 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • T's Girl

      Although Jesus comands those who suffer to forgive, that does not mean that the pain of what these Christians have suffered will be immediately alleviated. We must not only PRAY for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being ersecuted for just believing in Jesus as the Christ, but also bring the attention of the world to the current-day persecution of the Christian church. The persecution of Christains is growing, and if this had not happened in Iraq-where the media currently focuses its attention – it probably would not have been reported. I also wish our President would speak against this persecution and worry that, if this had been a mosque ambushed rather than a Christian chruch, he would have condemned it.

      November 2, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  15. Reality

    Once again:

    No doubt another act of terror planned in a mosque and instigated by an imam preaching from the very flawed koran rationalizing such activity by the myth of Gabriel's connection with Mahound. The significant terror and stupidity of Islam continues 24/7!!!.

    November 1, 2010 at 10:52 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.