Iraq ups Christian security

Other News Materials 12 October 2008 02:50 (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.

In response to the violence, Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader al-Obaidi visited Mosul Saturday morning, conducting meetings with local authorities and military commanders.

His spokesman, Mohammed al-Askari, said in addition to ordering more checkpoints in Christian neighborhoods, al-Obaidi ordered more troops deployed, additional security patrols and an increase in aerial surveillance of Christian areas.