Militants Bomb Orthodox Church in Baghdad

Masked men detonated a bomb near an Orthodox church in southern Baghdad on Monday, and police at the scene said three people were killed and 34 wounded.

A guard at the St. Bahnam and Sheik Matti Orthodox Church in the capital's Doura neighborhood said the militants drove up in a pickup truck.

"They were all armed," said Khalaf Enad. "They quickly poured out of the car, pointed their weapons at me and said 'Get in.' They opened fire for over a minute and then I heard a big explosion."

The blast created a crater over 12 feet wide and 3 feet deep.

Church deacon Matti Qeryaqos, who lives nearby, said the explosion shattered church windows and blew the doors off their hinges, collapsing the outer wall. He said there was no service at the church at the time of the blast, and that the dead and wounded were mostly neighbors.

Mohammed Aziz said strong explosions rocked the area. "I felt my house shaking three times and then saw the fire set in the church."

Police sealed off the area and fired bullets in the air to disperse the crowd, according to another witness, Lyon Emad Elias, whose home faces the church.