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 15 Killed in Car Bombs as Christians Flee Iraq

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At least 14 Iraqis and one American soldier were killed in two car bomb explosions that rocked separate cities Tuesday, June 8, adding to anxiety among the country's minority Christians, many of whom are reportly fleeing the troubled nation.

One of the car bombs blew up as a convoy of provincial council members passed by in the northern city of Mosul. The council members escaped injury but at least nine people died and about 25 were injured, including the Mosul deputy police chief.

In another attack, a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb during rush hour outside the American forward operating base War Horse in Baqouba, about 30 miles northeast of Baghdad. The apperant lack of security came as church officials claimed that Iraqi Christians "are voting with their feet" by leaving, amid fears that the country will become an undemocratic Islamic state under a new government.

Reverend Ken Joseph Jr. said the June 30th deadline for transfer of power will be accompanied by a Temporary Constitution that reads in Article 7, "Islam is the Official Religion of the State". He also cited "the most recent humiliation for the community - the failure to receive even one position on the Executive Council and only one Ministry Post -the Ministry of Emigration" in the 36-member cabinet as reasons why Christians are leaving Iraq.

In addition Christians object that a Muslim imam preached a sermon and said a prayer at the ceremony while leaders from Iraq's centuries-old Christian community were not even invited. It was not clear how many Christian refugees there are, but in some areas "400 families" are immigrating.


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