Red Crescent says 600 Christian families flee Mosul following threats by ISIS

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By Sabah al-Khalidi

Azzaman, July 22, 2014

More than 600 Christian families have fled the northern city of Mosul following threats by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), Iraqi Red Crescent said in a statement.

The statement, faxed to the newspaper, said the families were stripped of all their belongings and women had their jewelry and precious items usurped.

Reports say last Sunday was the first in nearly 2000 years in which residents of Mosul, which ISIS occupied last month, heard no church bells.

Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, has traditionally been a major center of Christianity in Iraq, with scores of churches and monasteries, some dating to the 2nd century B.C.

“More than 600 Christian families made their way out of Mosul in the past three days, settling in villages and towns in the city outskirts,” the statement said. “The fleeing families were plundered by ISIS as they left Mosul.”

The statement said the Red Crescent, which is the Muslim equivalent of the Red Cross, was trying to help, handing out food and blankets.

Meanwhile, the governor of the southern Province of Wasit Abdulridha Talal, has said his province was ready to “accommodate Christian families who have fled the terror and crimes of ISIS.”

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are on the move particularly from the northern and western parts of Iraq which have fallen to ISIS militants.