Iraqi security forces launched a failed rescue attempt this afternoon, attempting to put an end to the impromptu hostage situation at a Baghdad church. The raid left over 40 of the hostages dead and scores of others wounded, some seriously. The final toll of everyone in the incident, including security forces, was 58 dead and 75 wounded, according to the Interior Ministry.
The hostage takers were in the process of fleeing from an attempted attack on the Baghdad Stock Exchange when they fled into the church, taking the congregation hostage. The group was said to have demanded the release of a number of prisons in Iraq and Egypt, though the hostage situation only lasted a few hours before the troops stormed in. Officials concede that it is likely that the “rescuers” bullets killed a large number of the hostages, though publicly they still insist that they can’t make any formal judgment without an investigation.
Though reporters on the ground spotted a number of US military units taking positions around the church, the US denied any direct involvement in the botched rescue attempt, with officials insisting the US role began and ended with a surveillance drone overhead.
At least ten security forces were reported killed in the raid, and 15 others wounded. All eight people were reported arrested, though other reports insisted that some of the hostage-takers were slain during the attack.