.- A series of car bomb explosions Sunday near four Christian churches and the Vatican mission office killed three people and injured nine.
The blasts occurred within a half-hour near two churches in Baghdad and two in Kirkuk, 180 miles to the north, reported the Associated Press. The three deaths occurred in the bombing at the Church of the Virgin in Kirkuk. A fifth bomb exploded about 50 yards from the Vatican mission in Baghdad.
The bombings have raised new concerns for the country's small Christian minority, which only make up 3 percent of Iraq's 27 million people, following the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. At least 12 people were killed in a series of church bombings in 2004.
No group claimed responsibility for the bombings. At least 17 other people were killed in violence around the country that day.