AC: "A witness to another recent attack...said that if this continues there will be no Christians left in this country."
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
This is mostly the same clip that aired on International, but there is one new segment that has been added.
ANDERSON COOPER: Tonight, a fresh reminder of the uncertainty and bloodshed in Iraq. Bombings in Baghdad and Ramadi today killed at least 12 Iraqis. And as you know, in recent weeks the uptick in violence has also included a renewed wave of attacks on Christians. They're being marked for death, the killer sending a message to the faithful. Michael Ware has more in tonight's "360 Dispatch."
MICHAEL WARE, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A church bombed in Baghdad, one of six struck by Islamic militants in less than 24 hours. Here, in Catholic bishop Warduni's rectory, his curtains shredded by shrapnel from a car bomb, part of a long-running campaign of attacks with a single, clear message from the extremists: Christians are not welcome in Iraq. Attacks that began not under Saddam Hussein's regime, but only after the U.S. invasion .
BISHOP SHLEMON WARDUNI, CHURCH WAS BOMBED: This is a question of just attack the church. Why? We don't know. So, all this sudden actions against Christians, sure, it will be not so easy for Christians.
WARE (on camera): On Sunday evening, dozens and dozens of Iraqi families filled these chairs, here in the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic church in Baghdad. They'd come for 5 p.m. mass, as they do every week. When mass finished, they came out here into this courtyard. This church is protected by Iraqi checkpoints. The closest one just outside there, on the corner. When the car detonated, two young men had just stepped outside to collect their cars to take their families home. Those two men lost their lives, and according to the Iraqi government, so did two others from the Muslim family living nearby. And among the congregation, the church says at least 25 people were wounded.
(voice-over): Attacks virtually certain to continue.
WARDUNI: They are almost doing against us. We have no job. We have no security.
WARE: With U.S. Troops now restricted to bases outside of Iraq cities, able to operate only at the invitation of the Iraqi government, the security the bishop seeks must now come from the Iraqi security forces. Those forces are being trained by Americans led by this man, Lieutenant General Frank Helmik and the general says these church bombings shouldn't be taken as an indication of how the Iraqis are faring.
LT GEN FRANK HELMICK, U.S. ARMY: Our combat forces have just left the city. It's been two weeks, if you will. So again, these "attacks," these high profile attacks are not unexpected at all.
WARE: In the end, there will be one true measure of success: how well the Iraqi forces can protect Iraqis.
HELMICK: In some cases, they are reverting back to the Iraqi way, but that's not the wrong way. It is the Iraqi way. And what our goal is and our mission is to leave a credible security force in this country to provide the protection for the Iraqi people. So, the Western way may not be the right way for the Iraqi military.
WARE (on camera): No one knows the exact figure, but most agree that at the time of the U.S.-led invasion, Iraq's Christian community was about a million strong. Now, almost seven years later, most believe there's only a few hundred thousand left. After years of sustained attacks on their communities by Muslim militant extremists, a witness to another recent attack on a church here in Baghdad said that if this continues, there will be no Christians left in this country.
WARDUNI: I, for myself, I will stay here until the last drop of my blood.
WARE (voice-over): Courage he will need for the fate of Iraq's remaining Christians and their churches will be one of many barometers of the new Iraq's success or failure.
Michael Ware, CNN, Baghdad.