Wave of violence forces families to evacuate Iraqi city

“Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. ”

– Jeremiah 10:7 [NIV]

Fresh waves of violence are sweeping through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul causing thousands of families to flee the city. Sources report that over 15 Christians have been killed in Mosul in the last few weeks. Much of the killing seems to be at random. One victim was a 15-year-old boy who was shot while playing in the streets with his Muslim friends while another was a man in a wheelchair. Open Doors contacts estimate that 1,600 Christian families have now left the city to escape the violence.

Christian families report that varied measures are being used to make Christians flee the city such as warnings or threatening letters thrown into Christian’s houses. Checkpoints, some official some bogus, have been installed around the city, stopping cars and instructing Christians to leave within 24 hours.

A family, temporarily living in a local church told how fifteen young masked men stormed their house. They collected the mobile phones first, and then they asked if there were men in the house. Fortunately the husband was not in the living room at that moment and could flee to neighbors via the backdoor. The family was instructed to leave their three story house. They were not allowed to take anything with them. Finally the house was destroyed with explosives.

“Many of the people fleeing now are those who virtually are too poor to have fled earlier”, Yassr says. “There are even people who want to flee Mosul, but just cannot. Last week I asked an anxious father why he didn’t flee the city with his family. He responded that they did not have a car or any money, so simply had no choice than to stay.”

Open Doors has this week launched an immediate response by providing food packages, blankets and cookers for around 200 families  but with winter approaching additional help will be needed. Aid is also coming from the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration and other relief organisations operating in the region.

Source: Open Doors

Prayer points:

1. Prayer for ongoing peace in the region and wisdom for government officials as they seek to address outbreaks of violence and the issues behind it.

2. Please lift up before the Lord the families who have lost beloved ones in the last few weeks and those going through traumatic experiences. Pray for those who lost all their property and personal belongings dear to them.

3. Please pray that relief campaigns will be bring aid to those most in need and that there will be enough support for the Iraqi Christians.

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