Militants in Iraq targeted Christians in three separate bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday, which killed at least 37 people, officials say.
CBS News reported that a car bomb exploded in one attack near a church in the capital’s Dora area, killing at least 26 people and wounding 38 others, police said.
Another bomb went off at a market in the same neighborhood, killing 11 more people.
But Christian leaders are denying that the attacks were targeting worshippers.
According to BBC News, Iraq’s Christian community has more than halved in recent years, from approximately 900,000 people.
The bomb outside of St. John’s Catholic Church went off inside a parked car, and the explosion at an outdoor market in the al-Athorien district, which is mainly Christian, happened shortly after.
No one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the attacks, which occurred during the end of Christmas prayers as the worshippers left church, The New York Times reported.
During a St. Joseph Chaldean church service in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad, Father Saad Seroub called for peace and security across Iraq.
Christians are not the only group to be targeted. Others include civilians in restaurants, cafes, or crowded public areas, as well as Shiites and members of the Iraqi security forces. A medical official confirmed the casualty figures.
Syria’s unfolding crisis may also have something to do with an increase in attacks, many involving al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the BBC on Sunday that the Syrian crisis was "feeding terrorism in the region".
With the attacks during Christmas Day, the total number of people killed this month in Iraq has jumped to 441, according to CBS News. The United Nation believes nearly 8,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the year.