The following excerpts are from AINA.org:
- The flight is a new blow to Iraq's dwindling Christian community, which is almost as old as the religion itself but which has already been devastated since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. During the past 11 years, at least half of the country's Christian population has fled the country, according to some estimates, to escape frequent attacks by Sunni Muslim militants targeting them and their churches.
- Now many of those who held out and remained may be giving up completely after fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant swept over the city of Mosul and a broad swath of the country the past week.
- "I'm not going back," said Lina, who fled Mosul with her family as the militants swept in and came to Alqosh, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the north.
- "Each day we went to bed in fear," the 57-year-old woman said, sitting in a house for displaced people. "In our own houses we knew no rest." Like other Christians who fled here, she spoke on condition she be identified only by her first name for fear for her safety.
- In leaving, the Christians are emptying out communities that date back to the first centuries of the religion, including Chaldean, Assyrian and Armenian churches. The past week, some 160 Christian families -- mosly from Mosul -- have fled to Alqosh, mayor Sabri Boutani told The Associated Press, consulting first on the number with his wife by speaking in Chaldean, the ancient language spoken by many residents.
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Iraqi Christians Flee Homes Amid Militant Push