Mosul (AINA) -- A spokesman for Iraq's defense ministry confirmed on Friday the capture of six men suspected of perpetrating attacks on the Assyrians in Mosul. Sources have told AINA that four suspects are residents of the Kurdish region and are affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (headed by Massoud Barazani) in northern Iraq, as shown by their ID cards. The affiliations of the two other suspects is not yet known. American forces in Mosul declined to comment on the arrests.
The number of Assyrians driven out of Mosul in the past two weeks has risen to 15,000, or about 2500 families (AINA 10-16-2008). Threats, intimidation and murder by unidentified groups have instilled fear and panic in the Christian Assyrian community, causing a massive exodus into the Assyrian villages in the Nineveh Plain. Thirteen Assyrians have been killed in the past four weeks. At least three Assyrians homes were bombed on Saturday. Letters have been left instructing the Assyrians to leave the city immediately or face reprisal.
The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) issued a formal condemnation on Wednesday on the attacks against the Assyrians and rejected accusations it has any involvement. Several observers in Iraq have accused the Kurds of carrying out the attacks in Mosul for political reasons ahead of coming elections (AINA 10-17-2008). The Nineveh Plain area, east of Mosul, is heavily populated by Assyrians and other non Muslim, non Kurdish minorities. The KRG has announced it wants to annex the Nineveh Plain as well as other parts of the Nineveh province.