U.N. condemns attacks on Iraqi Christians

BAGHDAD, Nov. 13 (UPI) — Security in the Iraqi city of Mosul is essential for the country’s stability, the U.N. envoy to Iraq said, condemning attacks on the Christian community there.

Unidentified gunmen in the northern city of Mosul shot and killed two members of the Christian minority Wednesday following a respite from targeted violence against the community. The gunmen later razed the victims’ home with explosives when national police arrived to investigate, wounding two.

The special representative of the secretary-general for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, said the attack on religious minorities was cowardly, noting the security situation in the city had improved lately.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dispatched scores of national police and military personnel to the area in an effort to restore calm to the region.

De Mistura noted Mosul is a historic center of religious and ethnic diversity, saying respect for the minority populations in Iraq is “absolutely fundamental to a stable and democratic future for the country,” the United Nations said.

He called on provincial leaders and the Kurdistan Regional Government to ensure minority communities are protected against targeted violence.

According to U.N. estimates, nearly 10,000 members of the Christian community were displaced by the violence, which reached its peak in October.