Ever the optimists, Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry announced today that the displacement of Christians in Mosul has been over since Wednesday, when security forces took control of the city. A ministry official placed the overall displacement at 2270, far fewer than previously reported.
But reports continue to emerge suggesting the displacement of Iraq’s minority Christian community is continuing. Dozens of families flee into the region’s churches “with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” The churches are guarded by members of Christian militias, and rely on local donations of food and bedding. The refugees are reportedly refusing to be photographed, fearing retaliation if their identities become known.
Meanwhile US Brigadier General Tony Thomas met with church leaders this weekend, asking them who they believed was responsible for the attacks. He is quoted by Reuters as saying “I will give you a guarantee: I will crush them, I will crush whoever it is.”
But the priests refused to assign blame, with Father Gabriele Tooma saying “We don’t want to be sacrificial lambs. We don’t want to be fuel for these politicians’ games.” US officials have blamed al-Qaeda for the recent surge in attacks on Mosul’s Christian community.