BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The number of Christian families who have fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in the past week has reached 1,350, authorities said Wednesday.
Nineveh Deputy Governor Khasro Goran said the new numbers were provided by the provincial city’s office of immigration and displaced persons.
The families fled, reportedly frightened by a series of killings andthreats by Muslim extremists ordering them to convert to Islam or face possible death, Iraqi officials said.
Fourteen Christians have been slain in the past two weeks in the city, which is located about 260 miles (420 kilometers) north of Baghdad.
In response to the attacks, authorities ordered more checkpoints in several of the city’s Christian neighborhoods.
The attacks may have been prompted by Christian demonstrations ahead of provincial elections, which are to be held by January 31, 2009, authorities said.
Hundreds of Christians took to the streets in Mosul and surrounding villages and towns, demanding adequate representation on provincial councils, whose members will be chosen in the local elections….