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58 Killed During Roman Catholic Mass in Iraq

November 1, 2010 at 5:34 PM EDT
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Funerals were held today for hostages killed at a Roman Catholic Church in Baghdad last night. Militants raided the church and killed at least 58 people and wounded 78 others. Pope Benedict XVI condemned the murder of unarmed worshippers.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Iraqi Christians held funerals today for hostages killed at a Roman Catholic church in Baghdad last night. At least 58 people were killed and 78 wounded. Militants seized the site during evening mass. And that triggered a raid by Iraqi security forces. It was unclear if the hostages died before or during the raid.

At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI denounced the attack and appealed for an end to the violence in Iraq.

POPE BENEDICT XVI, Leader of Catholic Church (through translator): Among those who died there were also two Catholic priests and a group of faithful who gathered for the Sunday mass. I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, made more ferocious because it was directed against unarmed people gathered in the house of God. That is the house of love and reconciliation.

HARI SREENIVASAN: A group linked to al-Qaida claimed it carried out the assault on the church in a bid to exterminate Iraqi Christians. In 1980, Catholics made up nearly 3 percent of the Iraqi population. By 2008, the number was less than 1 percent.

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Those are some of the day’s major stories.