Published: 00:00 GMT Standard Time - Monday 26 January 2004
Four Christian Women Mown Down Going to Work
Four Christian women have been killed as militants from a passing car raked their minibus with automatic gunfire.
On Wednesday 21 January nine Christian Iraqi women were on their way to work in the laundry at Habaniyah US military base. "Suddenly, four masked men, in a white Opel, machine-gunned our minibus and four women died", recounted survivor Maggi Aziz, 49. None of the passengers escaped the attack, 50 miles west of Baghdad, unscathed. Maggi herself was speaking from a hospital bed with wounds to the leg, shoulder and head.
Ashkik Varojan boarded the bus on Wednesday morning having decided to hand in her resignation, rather than live in fear of reprisals for cooperating with the coalition. Necessity had driven her to work to support her paralysed husband and four children. On hearing the news of her death, Anjel, her 20 year old daughter fainted with grief. Vera Ibrahim, who survived, said "I won't continue this work. I am afraid. They wanted to kill us all."
Suzanne Azat, also a survivor, and Mussa Adam Abu Shaba, whose sister Nadia was killed, believe the assailants were insurgents fighting against the coalition forces.
On Monday 19 January there was a mass demonstration in Baghdad led by the Shi'a leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani against the US plans envisioned to ensure a stable and lasting democracy. According to the Financial Times, some of the demonstrators were carrying pictures of Jesus to make it appear that Christians were supporting the Shi'as, even though virtually all Christian leaders are against Al-Sistani's policies.
1. Pray for the families of those killed in this latest attack.
2. Pray that those injured will be healed completely and quickly.
3. Pray that the coalition will not give in to Shi'a demands that will compromise the future safety of Christians and other minorities in Iraq.