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Christian teenager killed in Iraq drive-by shooting

ICC Note:

Reports are uncertain if the boy was targeted because of his faith, yet the local priest interpreted the shooting as “aimed at uprooting Christians and forcing them to flee.”

11/16/2009 Iraq (AFP) — Gunmen killed a Christian teenager in a drive-by shooting outside his family home on Friday in the restive northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police said.

“Unidentified gunmen opened fire from a speeding black car on the adolescent before fleeing the scene in Tahrir,” a police officer said, referring to a Christian neighbourhood in eastern Mosul.

It was unclear if he had been targeted because of his faith.

But a local priest, Hazem Girgis, described the killing as part of “crimes aimed at uprooting Christians and forcing them to flee.”

Thousands of Christians fled Mosul last year because of violence that claimed the lives of 40 people from the community.

A report on Tuesday by Human Rights Watch said Iraqi minorities, including Christians, in northern Iraq are the collateral victims of a conflict between Arabs and Kurds over who controls the country’s disputed provinces.

Since the US-led invasion of 2003, hundreds of Iraqi Christians have been killed and a string of churches attacked.

Around 800,000 Christians lived in Iraq at the time of the invasion, but their number has since shrunk by around a third or more as members of the minority community have fled the country, according to Christian leaders.

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