22 novembre 2006

Chaldean Priest Feared Kidnapped in Iraq

Chaldean Priest Feared Kidnapped in Iraq

Father Douglas Al Bazi Missing Since Sunday

BAGHDAD, Iraq, NOV. 21, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Chaldean Church fears that a parish priest in Baghdad, missing since Sunday, has been kidnapped.

There has been no news of Father Douglas Al Bazi, pastor of the Mar Eliya Church.

The first to report the news was the Baghdadhope blog. The priest's disappearance was confirmed later to ZENIT by Chaldean sources, as well as by other Catholic news agencies, including AsiaNews and the Italian bishops' SIR agency.

"His mobile phones are disconnected and nobody, not even in the Chaldean Patriarchate, has heard anything of him since he left the church by car and without an escort," revealed Baghdadhope.

"Father Douglas could be the fourth priest kidnapped in Baghdad over five months and, although in other kidnappings the hostages have been released, still fresh is the memory of the terrible murder of Father Paul Iskandar, a Syro-Orthodox priest, kidnapped in Mosul last October and murdered the day after being kidnapped," reported the local sources.

Father Al Bazi has been the victim of violence several times. Last Jan. 29 he survived an attack against his parish church, Mar Mari, in the north of Baghdad.

On Feb. 23 he was wounded by a bullet in an attack by gunmen who fired against the church.

In addition to being pastor, Father Al Bazi is the director of the Catechesis Institute of Babel College.


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