Eyewitness: Baghdad church siege

One of the Christian worshippers caught in the deadly Baghdad church siege has told the BBC World Service of her ordeal.

At least 52 people were killed before Iraqi troops managed to overcome the attackers and free the surviving hostages.

Dr Thanaa Nassir

The terrorists came into the church, closed the door and took us hostage. I was terrified. There were five or six of them - I do not know exactly because we were all on the floor and could not lift up our heads. They brought in a bomb.

I was lying on the floor and every now and then there would be an explosion or gunshots over our heads, over the lights, over the fixtures, over the Crucifix, over the Madonna, everywhere. After that, they started to say "Allahu akbar" [Arabic for God is great], and they blew themselves up.

I was lying underneath a table with a friend. The people beside me were killed. One of the priests was killed in front of me. He died in my arms.

Because I am a doctor, I wanted to save them but I could not because the shots were coming close to my head.

I lay there on the floor, covering my ears because I could not bear the sound of the bombs and shooting. Then the Iraqi soldiers reached us, using a laser light, and they took the hostages out.

The Iraqi army did a very good job and deserve many thanks.

I do not think I and other Christians can stay in Iraq any longer.

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