At least 14 people have been killed and more than 32 injured in seven separate bomb blasts near churches in Iraq over the last three days.
Iraqi authorities are tightening security around churches across Baghdad and in two Christian towns in the northern province of Nineveh, where Christians are said to be living in fear.
In one of the worst attacks, at the church of Our Lady of Sacred Heart in Baghdad's Al-Mohandiseen district on Sunday, a car bomb left four people dead.
Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni said he had just finished celebrating Mass and had led the congregation in prayers for peace when the explosion rocked the building.
He said: "all the little children had been praying in the church. Then they ran outside to see the death, the destruction, to see the war... It was hell. We cry: Why? Why? What is our fault? That we are Christians?"
A spokesman for Middle East Concern said Christians in Iraq fear that this latest upsurge in sectarian violence demonstrates the continuing inability of government and security forces to keep order. They are also concerned that the continuing violence will dissuade Iraqi Christians who have relocated elsewhere in the Middle East from returning to Iraq in the near future.
Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his concern over the attacks. In a telegram sent to Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone SDB says that the Pope "prays for a conversion of heart in the authors of this violence, and encourages the authorities to do everything possible to promote just and peaceful coexistence among all sectors of the Iraqi population".
The Holy Father, says the telegram, "also gives assurances of his prayers and his spiritual closeness to the Catholic and Orthodox communities of the Iraqi capital".
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