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Two Christians Gunned Down in Iraq

(AFP) -- Gunmen killed two Christians, including a woman, after breaking into their homes in the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk on Sunday, police said.

They shot dead Yussef Shaba, an employee of Iraq's Northern Oil Company, and wounded his two sons, Bassel and Samer, said police Colonel Adnan Abdullah.

Other gunmen also burst into the home of Mouna Latif Daoud, killed her and wounded her daughter before stabbing both women.

"These two terrorist attacks took place within minutes of each other," Abdullah said.

Chaldean Bishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk condemned "these cowardly terrorist crimes" against "the Christians, who built up this country," and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Earlier this month, a Christian had his throat slit in Kirkuk.

Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi has urged Iraq's Christian minority not to flee the violence-plagued country and urged the international community to help protect it from extremists.

According to Christian leaders, 250,000 of the 800,000 Christians who lived in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 that ousted president Saddam Hussein have now left the country.

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