A bishop from Erbil – where Iran carried out missile attacks – has warned that any continuation of conflict in the region could cause Iraq’s fragile Christian community to lose confidence in the future.

In an interview today (Thursday, 9th January) with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Syriac Catholic Archbishop Nathaniel Nizar Semaan of Hadiab-Erbil issued an appeal for prayer, stating his hope that the conflict was just “temporary”.

His comments come as bishops from across the region highlighted the potential impact of the renewed tension on Iraq’s Christian community, amid reports that the faithful have dwindled to below 250,000 – a decline of 90 percent within a generation.

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