Funeral Held in Baghdad for Murdered Assyrian Priest
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(AINA) -- A service was held today at the church of st. Peter and St. Paul, in Baghdad's central Karrada neighbourhood, for Fr. Youssed Adel, who was gunned down yesterday in front of his home as he was leaving his car. An Assyrian, Fr. Adel was 40 years old and belonged to the Assyrian Orthodox Church.

The murder of Fr. Adel is the latest in the series of attacks targeted at Iraq's Christian Assyrian community. Since April of 2003, a systematic campaign has been waged against the Assyrians by Islamists from both Shiite and Sunni camps (report), as well as Kurds. It is estimated that nearly 50% of Christians have left Iraq since 2003.

Pictures of Fr. Father Youssef Adel funeral, courtesy of

The following is a list of priests kidnapped or killed in Iraq:

March 13, 2008

Archbishop Paulus Faraj Rahho was kidnapped on February 29 in Mosul. His body was found on March 13. Three traveling companions, Faris, Rami, and Samir, were killed at the time of the kidnapping.

June 6, 2007

Fr Hani Abdel Ahad, in his early 30s, was kidnapped a north-eastern section of Baghdad called Suleikh, along with five boys who were going with him to visit the city's minor seminar.

June 3, 2007

Fr. Ragheed Ganni and three deacons were gunned down in their car in Mosul. The car was booby trapped with explosives to prevent anyone from retrieving the bodies.

May 20, 2007

Fr. Nawzat P. Hanna was kidnapped in Baghdad and freed three days later. He was beaten while in captivity.

December 5, 2006

Fr. Samy Al Raiys was kidnapped in Baghdad and subsequently released after ransom was paid.

November 30, 2006

Fr. Mundhir al-Dayr of the Protestant Church in Mosul was found dead with a bullet in his head. He was abducted on November 26 and was found dead four days later. A message from the abductors demanded one million dollars as ransom or they will "kill all Christians starting with Fr. Al-Dayr."

November 19, 2006

Fr. Doglas Yousef Al Bazy was kidnapped in Baghdad and released nine days later after ransom was paid.

October 9, 2006

Fr. Paulos Iskander (Paul Alexander) was kidnapped by an unknown Islamic group and beheaded and dismembered three days later.

August 15, 2006

Fr. Saad Sirop, 34, head of the Theology Department at Babel College, the only university-level Christian institution in Iraq, was kidnapped in Baghdad and released one month later.

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