A SUICIDE bomber ‘disguised as a priest’ killed three people in an attack targeting a Christian leader.
By Laura Mowat, Express
PUBLISHED: 20:27, Mon, Jun 20, 2016
The church chief is lucky not to be hurt.
The attacker was trying to kill the head of the Syriac Orthodoc Church, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II.
The jihadi was stopped at a security checkpoint outside a hall in Qamishli, a city in northeastern Syria.
The bomber detonated his bomb when he was being questioned by Sutoro security officials, killing himself, three guards and wounding five others.
The jihadi was stopped at a security checkpoint outside a hall in Qamishli
The attacker was trying to kill the head of the Syriac Orthodoc Church, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II
The church chief Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II was not injured.
The suicide bomber had targeted an event commemorating the massacre of Christians more than a century ago.
Locals were gathered at a hall to commemorate the deaths of tens of thousands of Christians by the Ottoman army starting in 1915.
One guard said: “The suicide attacker tried to enter the hall where people were gathered but was stopped by local security forces, and he detonated himself among them.”
A charity worker has said that violent attacks have become too common.
Another guard said the attacker “detonated himself near our checkpoint after he couldn’t reach his real target, Patriarch Ignatius.”
The episode was the fourth terrorist attack in Wusta, a Assyrian and Armenian neighbourhood in Qamishly.
According to one campaign group, A Demand for Action (ADFA), such attacks are seen as a “way to force the remaining Christians in Qamishly, a city built by them, to flee.”
Following the attack, Patriarch Aphrem said: “I would like see Christians remaining here in their homeland of their ancestors.
The Supreme Head of Universal Syriac Orthodox Church visited Russia.
“The blood of our martyrs has been mixed with the soil of this land, Bethnahrin for many centuries.”
ADFA director Steve Oshana said that violent incidents have become “too common and are a reminder of the dangers our people face on a daily basis.
He said: “When a place like Qamishly, which in many ways represents the very soul of our existence in our ancestral homeland, comes under attack it underscores the need for us to support our local security forces.
“We made a pledge from the beginning to support any of our people who pick up weapons and risk their lives in defence of our homeland, and it is a pledge that is renewed with each martyr whose young life we deliver to their final resting place.”
The church chief is the patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church and he was enthroned in Damascus in 2014.