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Three Killed in Church Bombing in Baghdad

Baghdad -- A BLAST outside a Catholic church in southwestern Baghdad has killed at least three people and wounded 40, hospital sources said today.

The blast in the capital's Dora district destroyed the outer wall of St Bahnam's Church and set the house next door ablaze, witnesses said.

Police said a car bomb had exploded outside the church, but witnesses said it appeared explosives were planted nearby.

At least three people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on a checkpoint on the main airport road in Baghdad earlier in the day.

Five churches were hit in a string of bomb attacks in October that seemed designed to intimidate the country's small but deep-rooted Christian community, already shaken by a series of church bombings that killed 11 people in August.

Iraq's 650,000 Christians, mostly Chaldeans, Assyrians and Catholics, comprise about three per cent of the population.

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