(JNS.org) Pope Francis appealed for the safety of Iraqis, including Iraq’s beleaguered Christians, who are fleeing the advance of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has swiftly overrun many parts of Iraq and is now threatening Baghdad.
“I invite all of you to unite yourselves with my prayer for the dear Iraqi nation, especially for the victims and for those who most suffer the consequences of the growing violence,” Pope Francis said, Vatican Radio reported.
“In particular the many persons, among whom are so many Christians, who have had to leave their homes,” Pope Francis said.
Roughly 90 percent of Mosul’s estimated 10,000 Christians had fled Iraq’s second largest city, which was overrun by jihadists last week, France 24 reported. Many of these Christians have fled to Iraq’s Kurdistan region, where Kurdish Peshmerga forces have offered Christians and other refugees protection from ISIS.