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Iraqi Christians flee al-Qaida breakaway pursuing an Islamic state

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 11, 2014 at 6:51 p.m.



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BEIRUT (AP) — Iraqi Christians are fleeing from an al-Qaida splinter group with as many as 10,000 fighters that has seized a huge chunk of northern Iraq and much of northeastern Syria in pursuit of an Islamic state that would straddle the two countries.

The group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has used beheadings to terrify opponents and impose its strict interpretation of Islam. Todd Daniels of International Christian Concern says the group has threatened to kill Christians unless they convert to Islam.

This week, Islamic State fighters, many of them in fast-moving pickup trucks mounted with machine guns, captured Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, before barreling south to take the city of Tikrit — two urban centers in the heartland of northern Iraq's oil industry.

Daniels says thousands of Mosul's remaining Christians have fled their homes, seeking refuge in Kurdish controlled areas to the north.

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%@AP Links

256-a-11-(Todd Daniels, Middle East Regional Manager, International Christian Concern, in AP interview)-"fled the city"-Todd Daniels, of International Christian Concern, says Iraqi Christians are fleeing an Iraqi city that's been overrun by a radical Islamic group. (11 Jun 2014)

<<CUT *256 (06/11/14)££ 00:11 "fled the city"

257-a-15-(Todd Daniels, Middle East Regional Manager, International Christian Concern, in AP interview)-"of the city"-Todd Daniels, of International Christian Concern, says the conquest of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has terrified Christians. (11 Jun 2014)

<<CUT *257 (06/11/14)££ 00:15 "of the city"

259-a-04-(Todd Daniels, Middle East Regional Manager, International Christian Concern, in AP interview)-"convert to Islam"-Todd Daniels, of International Christian Concern, says the Islamic State group has persecuted Christians in areas it controls. (11 Jun 2014)

<<CUT *259 (06/11/14)££ 00:04 "convert to Islam"

258-a-08-(Todd Daniels, Middle East Regional Manager, International Christian Concern, in AP interview)-"regime in Syria"-Todd Daniels, of International Christian Concern, says the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been notorious for beheadings. (11 Jun 2014)

<<CUT *258 (06/11/14)££ 00:08 "regime in Syria"

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The Associated Press

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