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Terrorist attack on Syrian city targets Christians

January 05, 2016

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack that targeted restaurants owned by Christians.

The December 30 attack, which left 20 dead, took place in Al-Qamishli, a Syrian city of 184,000 that is the capital of Rojava, a self-proclaimed autonomous territory also known as Syrian Kurdistan. The area’s Kurdish forces have been fighting against the Islamic State as well as the Syrian government.

“Most victims were young people willing to welcome the new year with hope and joy,” said Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Yonan, head of the Syriac Catholic Church, which is in full communion with the Holy See. “It was a sinister message the terrorists wanted to send to the Christians of this city, sowing death and tears."

“The enemy of humanity is spreading its power everywhere in our beloved Middle East, seeking to destroy the homes of the children of God and to lead them astray,” said Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

On December 31, Syriac Catholic and Orthodox prelates presided at an ecumenical funeral for the victims of the attack, according to a report published by the Canadian Catholic Register. Patriarch Yonan described the funeral as “a witness of communion that Christians of the Middle East continue to give, living ‘the ecumenism of blood,’ as Pope Francis has repeatedly said.”

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