Witness to the carnage, stories from those who were inside the Baghdad church.

When they arrived, they opened fire right away, killing Fr Wasim who was closing the church’s door, shooting in every direction, telling people to lie on the floor, and not to move or shout. Someone was able to send some text messages with a mobile phone, but the attackers shot at anyone who was using a mobile. Fr Tha’er was killed at the altar in his liturgical vestments, still celebrating the mass. His brother and mothers were also killed. Then the slaughter began. We cannot tell you what everyone told us. Even crying children were killed. Some people fled to the sacristy, and blocked the door. Yet the attackers went up to the church’s balcony and threw hand grenades through the sacristy windows, which are high up.

All leads to think that it was a well-planned attack, and that they had inside help. How could they otherwise get through the police line (which blocks the road that leads to the church), and know how to get to the balcony, etc.? They fired at the air-conditioning machines so that gas could be released and kill anyone who was nearby. They fired at the cross, laughing, taunting people: ‘Tell him to save you!’ Then, they recited the call to prayer ‘Allāhu Akbar, la ilaha illa allāhu . . .’. When the soldiers were on the verge of coming in, they blew themselves up.

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