'Sunni Islamist insurgents such as al Qaeda have long targeted Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks, and other Iraqi minorities, as well as majority Shi'ites, whom they consider heretics. Christians number an estimated 750,000 in Iraq, a small minority in a country of 28 million.
Al Qaeda has vowed to use "military means" to derail the national ballot next month, which it sees as a farce to ensure Shi'ite domination of Sunnis.
Targeting Christians is an effective way to highlight the shortcomings of Iraq's security forces, given the media attention that attacks against Christians attract. Iraqi Muslims are killed in much greater numbers.'