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Jul 22, 7:09 AM EDT

Iraq Christians flee Mosul after militant threats

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IRBIL, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi Christians have been fleeing from the northern city of Mosul in the wake of threats from Islamic State militants who took the city in a blitz offensive last month.

The militants have called on the Christians to convert to Islam and have tried to impose their own strict interpretation of Sharia law.

Most Christians opted to flee to the nearby self-rule Kurdish region or other areas protected by Kurdish security forces.

Zaid Qreqosh Ishaq was among those who escaped with his family. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they fled with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

The family took refuge in the Saint Joseph Church in the northern Kurdish city of Irbil. The governor there, Nawzad Hadi, has pledged to protect the Christians.

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