- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2008


Iraq ordered nearly 1,000 police to patrol Christian areas of Mosul on Sunday as thousands of members of the minority religion fled the worst violence against them in five years.

The action came as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered an immediate investigation into the killing of Christians in the restive northern city and pledged to take all steps necessary to protect the threatened community.

“We will take immediate action to resolve the problems and difficulties faced by Christians in Mosul,” Mr. al-Maliki said in a statement released by his office after a crisis meeting with two Christian lawmakers.

Two brigades of national police were deployed in Mosul, considered by U.S. and Iraqi commanders to be the last urban stronghold of al Qaeda in Iraq, Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf told Agence France-Presse.

Two investigation teams, one security and the other criminal, have also been sent to probe a spate of attacks on Christians in Mosul since Sept. 28, in which at least 11 people have been killed, Mr. Khalaf added.

An Agence France-Presse correspondent said police have set up checkpoints at churches in the city’s four largely Christian areas and are patrolling the streets on foot.

Nearly 1,000 Christian families have fled their homes in the city since Friday, taking shelter on the northern and eastern fringes of Nineveh province,Gov. Duraid Kashmula said.

Mr. Kashmula said the violence was the worst against Christians in five years.

“[It] is the fiercest campaign against Christians since 2003,” Mr. Kashmula said. “Among those killed over the past 11 days were a doctor, an engineer and a handicapped person.”

At least three homes of Christians were blown up on Saturday, security officials said.

Mosul military command spokesman Khalid Abdul-Satar said he did not know who was behind the violence but pledged to protect the Christian community.

In the latest incidents in the city, at least seven Iraqis were killed and several dozen wounded on Sunday in three attacks in Mosul, two of them suicide car bombs aimed at American and Iraqi soldiers, the U.S. military and a police source said.

“In the first suicide car bomb - the one targeting coalition forces but with no coalition casualties - we have five killed and 10 wounded,” U.S. Army spokesman Staff Sgt. Sam Smith said.

Among the dead were three young boys, including a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old, he said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide