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No Evidence Al-Qaeda is Behind Attacks on Christians in Iraq: Interior Minister Spokesman

ERBIL, Iraq (UPI) -- The Kurdistan Regional Government Wednesday strongly condemned attacks on Iraqi Christians and denied claims it was behind the violence.

Thousands of Christian families in Mosul have fled the region in the wake of increased attacks on their community. Iraqi officials ordered an investigation into the perpetrators, as some in the Christian community pointed to suspected Kurdish moves to drive them out of the region.

Meanwhile, Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf said there was no evidence to suggest al-Qaida in Iraq was behind the attacks either.

The Kurdistan Regional Government Wednesday said it had ordered all "ministries, departments and relevant parties" to provide aid to the Christians, adding officials believed the attacks were the work of "religious fanatics and terrorist groups."

"(W)e strongly condemn all acts of harassment, terror and intimidation against the Christian civilians of Mosul city and call upon all relevant authorities of the federal government to both address and put an end to this catastrophe as soon as possible," the KRG said.

The Kurdish government said it strongly supported actions to protect minority religious groups in the region and was working to calm the situation.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier this week ordered 1,000 police to the region in an effort to secure the area.


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