By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife)-- A roadside bomb exploded near the rear entrance of a Catholic church in Iraq's capital Baghdad after Easter Mass Sunday, April 24, injuring at least seven people, Christians said.
The bomb rocked Sacred Heart church in Baghdad's central Karrada district, shattering windows in nearby buildings and severely damaging a police pick-up truck at the church gate, according to witnesses.
Among those injured were at least two passing civilians and two policemen, an interior ministry official and doctor at Ibn Nafis hospital said.
It came as Iraq's Christian minority remained on high alert after militants attacked a Syrian Catholic cathedral in central Baghdad last October in which 52 people died.
Yet an Iraqi Christian man, who has a shop near the targeted Our Lady of Salvation Catholic, said services held at the church for Easter showed the resilience of the country's Christians. "(On Good Friday), there were candles everywhere and all the people in the church were crying. Whenever I enter the church, I cry because I remember my friends and my cousin, a priest, who was killed in the attack," said the man, who only revealed his name as Raad.
"I can't forget those moments I lived through. I lost about 30 of my friends in the attack," he told Reuters news agency.
The number of Iraqi Christians has dwindled from an estimated between 750,000 and 1.2 million prior to the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein to about 400,000 today.
Many have fled to neighboring countries. Those Christians staying behind live mainly in Baghdad, the area surrounding the northern city of Mosul and parts of the autonomous Kurdistan region in the north of Iraq.
In other violence in Iraq, army General Abdulghani Mohammed was wounded by a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to a military vehicle in the Al-Amriyah neighborhood in the west of the capital, French News Agency AFP quoted the interior ministry as saying.
A roadside bomb also exploded near the Iranian embassy in the center of the capital, but no casualties were reported.And in the northern ethnically divided city of Kirkuk, an Iraqi army captain was killed by a "sticky bomb" early on Sunday morning, local police said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Easter attacks, believed to have been carried out by Islamic militants who carry out hundreds of bombings and other attacks each month.
An Interior Ministry source said six officers from the Interior and Defense ministries, and nine civilian government officials, have been killed in the last week by gunmen using silenced weapons, Reuters reported.
Seven security and 12 civilian officials were reportedly wounded in the attacks.