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Iraqi Armenians Link Explosion Near Armenian Church in Baghdad to Armenia´s Intention to Send troops to Iraq

By Anna Saghabalian

Representatives of Armenian community in Iraq believe that the suspected car bomb explosion near the Armenian Church St Grigor the Illuminator in Baghdad could be connected with Armenia’s plan to send non-combat troops to Iraq.

Armenia is planning to dispatch a small unit of Armenian non-combat troops (50 military doctors, sappers and truck drivers) to Iraq. But the parliament has still to approve the decision.

Iraqi Armenian community leaders urged the Armenian government not to send any troops to Iraq, warning that the attacks against 25 thousand strong Iraqi-Armenians are almost imminent.

The director of Armenian school in Baghdad Tsovinar Ishkhanian told RFERL on Thursday that children were just leaving the school building when the explosion took place. The school has about 200 pupils.

Fortunately there were no casualties, Iskhanian said. The Armenian school in Baghdad will be closed in coming weeks, until security situation in the area improves, Iskhanian told RFE/RL.

Tsovinar Ishkhanian added that recently the Christian Churches in Iraq have become a target of frequent attack by insurgents. The Armenian community leaders believes that the attacks against the Armenian Church is linked to Armenia’s intention to send troops to Iraq. She warned that if Armenian troops arrive in Iraq the attacks on Iraqi Armenians will intensify.

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