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As Violence Flares, Iraqi Leader Orders Help for Christians

October 13, 2008

By MARY BETH SHERIDAN

By Mary Beth Sheridan

The Washington Post

BAGHDAD

The Iraqi government on Sunday ordered security forces to increase protection of Christians in northern Iraq, where hundreds have fled their homes in recent days after a wave of killings and threats.

At least a dozen Christians have been slain in the past few weeks in the city of Mosul, which has remained violent even as attacks have dropped in other parts of the country. Fighters from al-Qaida in Iraq have resisted efforts by U.S. troops to oust them .

“These attacks have never been seen in Mosul city. Centuries and centuries we were living together,” a parliamentary deputy, Yonadam Kanna, said in an interview before he and other Christian politicians met Sunday with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maliki’s office said that he was ordering the Iraqi army and police in the Mosul area “to provide protection for members of this community” and added that the security forces would “target the terrorist groups” behind the attacks.

Christians make up about 3 percent of Iraq’s 27 million people, down from roughly twice that percentage before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to church leaders and human-rights organizations.

Many Christians have left the country after being harassed by Islamic extremists and criminals, church leaders say.

shrinking number

Christians make up about 3 percent of Iraq’s 27 million people, down from roughly twice that percentage before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to church leaders and human-rights organizations.

Originally published by BY MARY BETH SHERIDAN.

(c) 2008 Virginian – Pilot. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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