Baghdad, Iraq. -- Drive-by gunmen shot down two European foreign aid workers to Iraq, on Tuesday, March 16, bringing to six the number of humanitarian workers killed in the last week.
The Tuesday killing involved a German and a Dutch national, who were water engineers working on a project at Al-Razzaza, a lake near the southern city of Karbala. The four U.S. missionaries, who were slain on Monday, were also working on a water-purification project.
Specialists say the attacks signal a strategy shift with insurgents taking aim at “soft” targets.
"Clearly there has been a shift in the insurgency and the way the extremists are conducting operations,” said Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
Sanchez said the attacks were an attempt to intimidate those trying to help the 36-nation U.S.-led coalition before the handover of authority to the Iraqis on June 30.
Meanwhile, Carrie McDonnall, the sole survivor of Monday’s attack, arrived safely at the U.S. Army hospital in Landsthul, Germany, March 17. Conflicting reports on her present condition place her as critical and unconscious to being in a stable condition.
Paige Patterson, president of the Southewestern Baptist Theological Seminary where Carrie and her slain husband David was enrolled, visited McDonnall, and prayed for her health and comfort.
Christian missionaries in predominantly Muslim Iraq are often viewed with suspicion by many residents who believe the foreigners are trying to convert them to Christianity.
"They knew going into Iraq, they couldn't really share their Christian faith unless somebody asked them," said Larry Kingsley, a church deacon. "They were there in a humanitarian situation. They were people who just had a great heart for helping people out."