Dozens Killed In Iraq Church Siege Islamic militants stormed a church in central Baghdad and held about 120 Christians hostage Sunday before security forces stormed the building and freed them. At least 47 people were killed. The militants were demanding the release of female insurgents when security forces stormed the building.
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Dozens Killed In Iraq Church Siege

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Dozens Killed In Iraq Church Siege

Dozens Killed In Iraq Church Siege

Dozens Killed In Iraq Church Siege

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Islamic militants stormed a church in central Baghdad and held about 120 Christians hostage Sunday before security forces stormed the building and freed them. At least 47 people were killed. The militants were demanding the release of female insurgents when security forces stormed the building.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And Kelly, how did this all unfold?

KELLY MCEVERS: At first they grabbed a construction crew as hostages, some people who were working on part of the church. But then it turns out there was an evening mass service going on, and they also seized some worshippers.

MONTAGNE: So they're in this church, Our Lady of Salvation church, and the militants, you know, it's not clear why they went there in the first place. But did they begin making demands?

MCEVERS: What's still unclear is whether this statement appeared before or during the raid here in Iraq.

MONTAGNE: So how did the seize end? Obviously, quite deadly.

MCEVERS: But, that said, American Special Forces, who number about 5,000 here in Iraq, have more flexible rules of engagement.

MONTAGNE: Well, if this all started with gunman attacking the stock exchange and then retreating to this church, what does this say about al-Qaida in Iraq?

MCEVERS: So what you're seeing now is al-Qaida launching these sort of lower-cost, high- profile attacks. The idea is to make themselves look more dangerous than they actually are, you know, to keep the specter of fear alive.

MONTAGNE: Kelly, thanks very much.

MCEVERS: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Kelly McEvers, speaking to us from Iraq.

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