Iraqi soldier, Christian citizen killed in northern Iraq
MOSUL (NINEVEH), Iraq — An Iraqi soldier and a Christian citizen were killed and seven people wounded on Tuesday evening in separate gunfire and a car bomb attacks in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, a provincial police source said.
A soldier was killed and another wounded when gunmen attacked a checkpoint in western Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, the source from Nineveh's provincial operations command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
A police vehicle at the scene rushed to evacuate the wounded soldier to a nearby hospital, but a booby-trapped car was waiting on vehicle's road detonated and wounded a policeman aboard, the source said.
In another incident, Iraqi soldiers seized a booby-trapped car after wounding and capturing its driver in al-Zuhour Street in eastern Mosul, the source added.
Shortly after, the captured car bomb detonated and wounded three soldiers, along causing damages to nearby shops and buildings, he said.
Also in Mosul, an Iraqi Christian was killed and his brother wounded when gunmen stormed their shop east of the city and opened fire on them, the source said. A new wave of attacks against Christian minority in Iraq started after a hostage-taking attack late last month by Islamic gunmen against Christian worshippers at a Baghdad church which killed 58 people and wounded some 75 others.
Later, Iraq's al-Qaida militant wing claimed responsibility for the attack and said that Christians and their organizations have become "legitimate targets" for al-Qaida militants.
Most of the around one million Iraqi Christian minority live in areas from Baghdad to the northern cities of the country, including Kirkuk and Mosul.
Nineveh province has long been a stronghold for insurgent groups, including al-Qaida militants, despite major security crackdowns by the U. S. troops and Iraqi security forces to uproot the insurgency which erupted shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.