Up to a quarter of Iraq’s Christians are reported to be fleeing after Islamic militants seized the minority’s biggest town in the country.
The Islamic State (IS) group captured Qaraqosh in Nineveh province overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.
Meanwhile, the UN says some of the 50,000 members of the Yazidi religious minority trapped by IS on Mount Sinjar have been rescued.
IS controls parts of Iraq and Syria and says it has created an Islamic state.
Nineveh, located 400km (250 miles) north-west of Baghdad, is home to a large number of religious minorities.
Tens of thousands have been forced to flee since IS, a Sunni Muslim group formerly known as Isis, launched their onslaught in the north in June.
In other developments:
- A suicide bombing in a Shia Muslim area of Baghdad killed at least 12 people
- IS said it had captured the strategic Mosul dam on the Tigris river – a claim denied by Kurdish forces who insist they are still in control
- At least six people died when a car bomb exploded near a Shia mosque in the northern city of Kirkurk
A majority of Nineveh inhabitants left their homes overnight, according to Fraternite en Irak, an international Christian organisation based in Paris.
As many as 100,000 people are believed to be fleeing toward the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
BBC has the full article