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(ANS) – Over 60 people were killed and hundreds wounded as car bombs detonated near a police academy, a hospital and several police stations in the northern city of Mosul Thursday, June 24, just as Christians there prepared to burry two young Assyrian sisters who were shot and killed earlier in Thursday’s violence, the most bloodiest in months, also spread to other area’s and rose the total death toll to over one hundred, news reports and Iraqi officials claimed. The latest violence linked Islamic extremists, also underscored fear among Iraq ‘s Christian minority, less than a week before the American-led coalition officially ends its “occupation” and hands over power to transitional government.
The violence in Mosul, known in the Bible as Nineveh where prophet Jonah brought the message of repentance, overshadowed plans to burry two Iraqi sisters who worked for a big American firm before they were killed in a drive-by shooting this week near their home in the southern city of Basra, relatives told the Reuters news service. Janet and Shatha, aged 38 and 25, worked for the US company Bechtel, which has been awarded major infrastructure reconstruction contracts in Iraq , their father, Sadah Audishow was quoted as saying. Audishow, said he had been waiting at the window for his girls to return from work when he heard gunshots and saw a white pick-up truck speeding past. “I had been waiting for my daughters to come home at five ’clock,” said Audishow, an Assyrian Christian who works and lives in the church with his family. “I picked one of them up and she was dead. I went to pick up the other but found her dead too,” he told Reuters, while his shirt still stained with blood from the night before. Neighbors said men in the truck had opened fire on the girls’ car, Reuters reported. There have been several killings of Christians that involved both shootings and cutting of throats in recent weeks and months, human rights watchdogs and church sources say.