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Holy Land Christians Pray for Victims of Iraq Church Attack

BETHLEHEM (AFP) -- Christian leaders in the Holy Land gathered on Friday in Bethlehem for a mass in memory of the 46 worshippers killed in the Al-Qaeda assault on a Baghdad church.

After the prayers, candles were lit in the main square of the West Bank city where Christ was born.

At least 46 hostages, including two priests, were killed during a hostage drama with Al-Qaeda gunmen in Baghdad's Sayidat al-Nejat Syriac Catholic cathedral during Sunday mass, that ended in an assault by Iraqi forces.

Witnesses said the gunmen were wearing suicide vests, and that at least one militant detonated his payload.

"People who commit such barbaric acts can in no way claim to be followers of the Koran or to be Muslims," Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said in a message.

"Today the Palestinian people suffer the same pain as the Iraqi people," said Abbas.

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