Mosul, IRAQ - Despite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki pledge yesterday to protect Christians in Iraq after mass killings in the northern city of Mosul, thousands of Chaldeans flee as Islamic radicals turn-up the violence.
Proving the weakness of Maliki’s government and the vulnerability of Iraqi Christians, a music store owner was shot to death in the northern city of Mosul. Police sources said on Monday gunmen entered the store late on Sunday and shot dead the Iraqi Christian store owner and his nephew, who was wounded.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered an immediate investigation into the murders of Christians in Mosul and pledged to take all steps necessary to protect the community.
"We will take immediate action to resolve the problems and difficulties faced by Christians in Mosul," Maliki said in a statement released by his office after meeting with two Christian lawmakers.
Iraq deployed around 1,000 police on the streets of Mosul earlier Sunday, after thousands of members of the minority group began to flee in terror following the worst surge of violence against them in five years.
Maliki also ordered a probe into the attacks on Christians in Mosul since September 28. "I will instruct the security authorities in Nineveh province to take whatever steps are necessary to protect the (Christian) community so that they can live safely like the rest of the people in Iraq," Maliki said.
Mosul is the capital of Nineveh province.
"Christians have the right to live in safety and dignity and they are a fundamental part of the Iraqi people who deserve care and attention and appreciation and have their needs provided for," Maliki added.
Yunadem Kanna, one of two Christians in parliament, told AFP that Maliki had promised him action.
"I just met with Maliki and he promised to deliver," Kanna said, adding that the army and not just police had to move into the area in force if the law was to be upheld.
Since the US-led invasion of 2003 more than 200 Christians had been killed and a string of churches attacked, with the violence intensifying in recent weeks, particularly in the north, Iraqi Christian leaders have said.
There were around 800,000 Christians in Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, a number that has since shrunk by around a third as the faithful have fled the country, Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako told news reporters last week.