Published: 00:00 GMT Standard Time - Thursday 03 March 2011
Elderly Christian stabbed to death in Iraq
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Iraq
A 70-year-old Iraqi Christian was stabbed to death at his home by Islamists, heightening fears of further attacks against Christians as the country is rocked by demonstrations.
Youssif Isho was killed by a group of armed men who stormed his home in Baghdad's central neighbourhood of Karrad, where he lived alone.
His death is said to bear the hallmarks of a targeted killing by Islamists; nothing was stolen from the property, indicating that the offenders were not motivated by material gain.
The murder comes as thousands of Iraqis, inspired by protests across North Africa and the Middle East, staged anti-government protests across the country.
Iraqi Christians, who are already extremely vulnerable to attack, fear the unrest could exacerbate the danger they face.
One Christian leader told Asia News, "People are scared because extremist groups could infiltrate (demonstrations) and cause havoc," adding that many fear more "looting, destruction and even targeted killings".
He said that the Christian community "has been suffering for some time" and Christians were "moving cautiously out of fear of more violence".
Protestors gathered in cities, including Mosul and Hawija in the north, and Basra in the south, with as many as 5,000 people congregating in Baghdad's Tahrir Square. In scenes reminiscent of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, they were calling for less corruption, more jobs and better public services.
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