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New wave of violence in Iraq is sectarian, political, prelate says

Catholic World News - September 10, 2012

A wave of violence that swept across Iraq this weekend should not be attributed to Al Qaida terrorists or to ordinary criminals, said Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk. “The attacks are politically motivated,” he said.

Almost 100 people were killed, and many more injured, in dozens of violent episodes in Iraq on September 9. The killings came after a court ordered the death penalty for Tariq al Hashemi, a Sunni leader, for having ordered more than 150 killings. The penalty was imposed in absentia, since al Hashemi has fled from Iraq and is now living in Turkey. But the verdict ignited tensions between the Sunni and Shia religious sects.

Archbishop Sako said that the violence is designed to destabilize Iraq. He said that the sectarian tensions behind the killings reflect the same influences that are visible throughout the Middle East, and can be vividly seen in the current upheavals in Syria.

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