Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - A car bomb exploded this morning in front of the only Syrian Orthodox Church in the town of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, damaging it severely. According to local sources, the victims of the attack are five people who were in a restaurant near the church. The Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus, led by His Beatitude Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, confirmed to Fides the attack, and was not able to provide further details because "it was not possible to establish a telephone link between Damascus and Deir Ezzor."
In September the same church dedicated to the Virgin Mary had been desecrated and vandalized by armed gangs. In the region of Deir Ezzor, currently under the control of the Free Syrian Army, Salafi groups have been reported. A month ago, some young Christians in the same region, in the ranks of the opposition wrote an open letter, also reported by the independent website "Now Lebanon", asking the military leaders of the Revolutionary Council respect for Christian and Muslim places of worship, a symbol of Syrian civilization and asserting that desecrating acts are "against the values of the revolution." The military replied it would have guaranteed the protection of sacred places. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/10/2012)