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Jihadists claim Baghdad blasts as Iraq rallies behind Christians

Iraqi Christians light candles after attending Sunday mass at the Virgin Mary Chaldean Church in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad on July 20, 2014The Islamic State on Sunday claimed responsibility for deadly Baghdad bombings, as the Christians they drove out of Mosul grieved for their lost homes and uncertain future in Iraq. The flight of the centuries-old Christian community from Iraq’s jihadist-held second city drew messages of solidarity and pledges of aid, both from former Sunni neighbours and Shiite leaders. In a statement posted on jihadist websites, the Islamic State (IS) praised two of its fighters — a German and a Syrian — for two of a spate of blasts that killed 24 people in Baghdad on Saturday. The near-simultaneous blasts were among the deadliest attacks in Baghdad since IS launched an offensive on June 9 and proclaimed a caliphate last month, exacerbating sectarian tension and pushing Iraq to the brink of breakup.

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