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06 December 2023

Iraq court agrees execution of church attackers

By Reuters

Iraq's highest court ratified death sentences on Thursday for three men convicted of a 2010 attack on a Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, the bloodiest attack on Iraqi Christians after the 2003 invasion.

Gunmen linked to Al Qaeda seized hostages during Sunday mass at the Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad on October 31, 2010. Around 52 hostages and police were killed and 67 wounded in the attack, which ended when security forces stormed the church.

Al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack.

"There are three convicted criminals. All of them are Iraqis and they were convicted based on the terrorism law," said Abdul-Sattar Al Birqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council.

"The sentence is final and it will be sent to the presidency to issue a decree to the Justice Ministry to execute it."

One of the alleged leaders of the church attack, Huthaifa Al Batawi, known as Al Qaeda's "Emir of Baghdad," was killed in an attempted jailbreak last May, officials said.