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St Pedro de Betancur

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Iraq: freed archbishop calls for election delay

 The Syrian Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who was abducted for 24 hours last week told Vatican Radio that he does not think Iraq is ready for elections. Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa said: "I don't think this is the right moment. The very first thing we need is security and reconciliation." Mosul is split demographically into four groups; Christians, Kurds, Sunnis and Assyrians. There is currently a battle for influence in the city, especially in light of its proximity to the Kurdish-controlled north and the Syrian border. The city is home to one of Iraq's largest Christian communities, with some 35,000 Christians from the Chaldean and Syrian Eastern rites. There has been an increase in attacks on Iraq's Christian communities in recent months. Last August, five churches in Baghdad and Mosul were bombed in coordinated attacks that killed 12 people. Source: Vatican Radio