Iraq: al-Qaeda leader sentenced to death over killing of archbishop

 An al-Qaeda leader in Iraq has been sentenced to death for the killing of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. The Iraqi government said the criminal court had imposed the death sentence on Ahmed Ali Ahmed, known as Abu Omar. The archbishop of Mosul, who was 65, was kidnapped in February by gunmen who attacked his car, killing his driver and two bodyguards. His body was found in a shallow grave two weeks later. The US Embassy in Baghdad welcomed the sentence, saying in a statement: "Reiterating our condolences to the archbishop's family and community, we commend the Iraqi authorities for bringing the perpetrator of this brutal crime to justice." Archbishop Rahho was the latest in a long line of Chaldean clerics to be abducted in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003. There have been many attacks on churches, priests and businesses owned by Christians. Kidnappings by Sunni and Shia groups, as well as criminal gangs, have been common The Chaldeans are the largest church within Iraq's ancient Christian community, which was estimated at 800,000 before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Thousands have now fled abroad. Source; MISNA

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