JOS, Nigeria — A series of unprecedented Christmas Eve bomb blasts and attacks on churches have left at least 38 people dead in Nigeria as authorities worked Saturday to keep the violence from spreading.
Seven explosions went off in two different areas of the flashpoint city of Jos in central Nigeria, killing 32 people and injuring 74, many of them as they were doing their Christmas shopping, police said.
In the city of Maiduguri in northern Nigeria, suspected members of an Islamist sect that launched an uprising last year attacked three churches, leaving six people dead and one of the churches burnt, an army spokesman said.
At least 130 Christians in Egypt still remain imprisoned after police attacked a church under reconstruction, a Christian missionary agency reported.
Local police have released 70 Christian prisoners in need of medical treatment, but the majority still remains in jail this Christmas season, according to Christian Aid Mission. The ministry is calling for prayers for the safety of the Egyptian Christians during their Christmas services and for financial aid to cover medical expenses of families who suffered from the attack.
As Christian leaders highlighted the plight of believers facing the threat of attacks around the world, a bomb in a church during Christmas mass in the southern Philippines on Saturday wounded 11 people, including a priest.
Military officials would not immediately name any suspects in the blast on Jolo island, but the island is a known bastion of the Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaeda-linked group, blamed for deadly attacks in the Philippines and for kidnapping priests and nuns.
"There is a possibility that this could be the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf because they have been perpetrating similar attacks against the Catholic church," Lieutenant Randolph Cabangbang, a military spokesman, said.
For some Iraqi Christians, this may be last Christmas in Baghdad
Repeated attacks and new threats against the minority group lead churches to skip decorations and evening services and families to consider leaving Iraq altogether.
I found these by typing Christians Attacked in Google's news aggregator. For some reason, it didn't turn up any news stories of Christians attacking anyone of other faiths. And for some other reason, only "extremists" of one other faith seemed to be obsessed with attaching Christians. Remember our religious freedoms, and remember those who have lost theirs, this Christmas.