Christians flee Iraqi city after killings, 3 homes destroyed

Other News Materials 12 October 2008 01:11 (UTC +04:00)

At least 900 Christian families have fled Mosul in

the last week, terrified by a series of killings and threats by Muslim

extremists ordering them to convert to Islam or face possible death, officials

said Saturday.

The attacks may have been prompted by Christian demonstrations ahead of

provincial elections, which are to be held by Jan. 31, 2009, the deputy

governor of Nineveh province said, reported CNN.

An Interior Ministry official told CNN the homes of three families were

destroyed with explosives Saturday after the occupants left. No injuries were

reported. The Christians have sought refuge in monasteries and churches and

with family members in other towns, the official said.

The deputy governor, Khasro Goran, said 13 Christians have been slain in

the past two weeks in the city, which is located about 420 kilometers (260

miles) north of Baghdad.

The attacks began after hundreds of Christians took to the streets in

Mosul and surrounding villages and towns, demanding adequate representation on

provincial councils, whose members will be chosen in the local elections.

The protests may have triggered the killings, Goran said.