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Iraqi Armenians killed, wounded in attacks

by Emil Sanamyan
Armenian Reporter

An ethnic Armenian music-store owner, Farques Batool, was killed, and his nephew was wounded in attacks in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on October 13, news agencies reported. The attacks were apparently religiously motivated.

Since the surge in violence, ethnic Armenians and other Christians who had remained in Mosul, one of Iraq's largest cities, more than 4,000 people in all, have fled, most for the relative safety of Iraqi Kurdistan.

In all, at least ten people have been killed in fresh attacks blamed on Sunni radicals linked with Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Associated Press linked the attacks to calls by Iraqi Christians for restoration of Saddam Hussein-era quotas that would give them seats in provincial councils. The Shiite-dominated Iraqi government sent police reinforcements to try to stabilize the situation in Mosul.

"Thousands of people fled virtually overnight, many with only the clothes on their back," said Jamil Abdul-Ahad, the head of an interfaith Christian council in Mosul that has been distributing aid to the displaced, The AP reported.

"Our situation needs active work, not just media propaganda from government officials," Mr. Abdul-Ahad said. "The government should protect Christians in Mosul and safeguard their rights."

Sunni extremists have regularly targeted Iraqi Christians since the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. In addition to Armenians, Iraqi Christians include Syrian Orthodox and Catholics.