Aquino orders DFA to verify if there are Filipino victims in Iraq hostage drama — Lacierda

November 2, 2010 11:10 am 

MANILA, Nov. 1 —President Benigno Aquino III directed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to coordinate with the Philippine Embassy and Consulates in Baghdad to verify if there were Filipinos victims in the terror attack in a Catholic Church in Central Baghdad on Sunday, wherein 52 people were killed and several others were injured.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda told PNA on Monday that President Aquino has already ordered the DFA to check if there were Filipino victims in the Al-Qaeda attack in a Catholic Church in Central Baghdad, Iraq.

”We are now verifying with the Foreign Affairs if there are Filipino victims in the recent terror attack in Iraq,” Secretary Lacierda told PNA.

Reuters report said around 52 people were killed, including eight policemen during the 4-hour hostage drama when Al-Qaeda linked gunmen stormed Sayidat al-Nejat Church on Sunday night in Baghdad.

In an Agence France Press (AFP) reports said, nine armed men link to Al-Qaeda raided the Church and immediately gunned down the priest while having mass.

The hostage-takers demanded for the release of Al-Qaeda prisoners in Iraq and Egypt before releasing their hostages.

The raiders immediately held hostage some 120 churchgoers for almost four hours until the combined US and Iraqi authorities initiated a rescue operations.

The Vatican, France and Italy immediately condemned the terror attack in the Catholic Church.

“It’s a very sad situation, which confirms the difficult situation in which Christians live in the country,” Vatican Spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said in an interview with AFP news service.

“We are following the situation closely and hope for a rapid solution, without violence or further victims,” the Vatican spokesman added. (PNA)

RMA/rudyma

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