US condemns attacks on Iraq’s Christians

12345.jpgBAGHDAD (AFP) — The United States on Tuesday condemned attacks on Iraqis, including those against Christians in the northern city of Mosul, where a surge in violence against the community has provoked a mass exodus.

“The US embassy in Baghdad condemns the recent attacks against Iraqis in cities such as Baghdad and Nineveh, including those attacks targeting Christian communities in Mosul,” the embassy said in a statement

A series of a dozen murders over the last few weeks has prompted over 1,000 families of Iraq’s mixed Christian minorities to flee their homes to the relative safety of the countryside.

However, heavy police reinforcements have helped staunch the flight from Mosul, long considered one of the country’s most dangerous cities as well as Al-Qaeda’s last urban stronghold in Iraq.

Iraqi authorities have yet to publicly announce who they believe is behind the campaign of violence, although Al-Qaeda is suspected by some.

“The terrorist groups responsible for these attacks have shown again that their enemy is the Iraqi civilian population,” the US embassy said.

“They are seeking to create divisions among Iraqi communities and undermine the progress Iraq is making in building an inclusive, democratic and prosperous society.”

It said US-led forces were working with Iraqi security forces to respond to changing tactics by insurgent groups and foster improved security for all citizens of the province of Nineveh, of which Mosul is the capital.

An Iraqi government envoy and the Nineveh operations centre commander have met local Christian leaders in the two Christian neighbourhoods of Mosul, Bartolla and Hamdaniyah, a US statement said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has pledged to take all steps necessary to defend the threatened community