Three Killed, 34 Wounded in Iraqi Church Explosion

Masked men detonated a bomb near an Orthodox Church in southern Baghdad on Monday, killing three people and wounding 34, Iraqi police officials reported.

According to the Associated Press, the St. Bahnam and Sheik Matti Orthodox Church in the Iraqi capital’s Doura neighborhood—which was originally reported as having been a Catholic Church—was hit by the explosion after armed militants reportedly drove up in a pickup truck and opened fire for over a minute.

The blast, which left a crater over 12 feet wide and 3 feet deep, shattered church windows and blew the doors off their hinges, collapsing the outer wall, a church deacon told AP. The deacon said there was no service at the church at the time of the blast, and that the dead and wounded were mostly neighbors.

Sources say after the explosion, police then sealed off the area and fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd.