Bomb found inside confessional box at Syrian church, Christian leader says

A leading Christian figure in Syria says a remote-controlled bomb was found inside the confessional box of a church in a rebel-held town.

Patriarch Gregorios III, speaking at an event in London on Wednesday to highlight the difficulties that Christians face in the country's civil war, also said families in Yabroud are being asked to pay a monthly protection tax of $35,000 by armed groups, The Telegraph reports.

"Yabroud is under the control of armed groups, and Christians are asked for protection money, yet in spite of this, there are these bombs being placed in the church," he said.

Gregorios said the two bombs -- including the one inside the confessional box -- were found Tuesday at the Cathedral of Constantine and Helen, one of the oldest churches in the world, The Telegraph reports.

He warned that even if the rebels triumph over the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, life could be difficult for Christians because of hard-line Islamists that have joined the fight.

"The extremists are against even the normal rebel opposition," Gregorios said.

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