Catholic Archbishop Abducted in Iraq

Catholic Archbishop Abducted in Iraq (Fox – AP)

A Roman Catholic archbishop in Mosul, Iraq, has been kidnapped, the Vatican (search) said Monday. It identified the kidnapped man as Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, 66, of the Syrian Catholic Church, one of the branches of the Roman Catholic Church. “The Holy See deplores in the firmest way such a terrorist act,” a Vatican statement said, demanding that he be freed immediately.

A priest in Iraq said on condition of anonymity that the archbishop was walking in front of the Al-Bishara church in Mosul’s eastern neighborhood of Muhandeseen when gunmen forced him into a car and drove away. Mosul is a northern Iraqi city that in recent months has been a hotspot of violent insurgency. The reason for the kidnapping was unclear, but Christians — tens of thousands of whom live in and around Mosul — have been subjected to attacks in the past. Christians make up just 3 percent of Iraq’s 26 million people. The major Christian groups in Iraq include Chaldean-Assyrians and Armenians. There are small numbers of Roman Catholics.

This kidnapping may well have been motivated by money rather than religion or ideology, but there’s not much information right now.

Via e-mail tip from Rusty Shackleford, whose site I can’t access at the moment.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.