Pope Francis calls for action as Iraqi Christians forced to flee

Reuters
An Iraqi Christian woman fleeing the violence in the village of Qaraqush and Bartala, about 30 kms east of the northern province of Nineveh,in the Kurdish city of Arbil in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, on June 27, 2014
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An Iraqi Christian woman fleeing the violence in the village of Qaraqush and Bartala, about 30 kms east of the northern province of Nineveh,in the Kurdish city of Arbil in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, on June 27, 2014 (AFP Photo/Karim Sahib)

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis appealed to world leaders on Thursday to help end the crisis in northern Iraq after a sweeping advance by radical Islamic state militants forced thousands of residents of Iraq's biggest Christian town to flee their homes.

"His Holiness addresses an urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway, to act to protect those affected or threatened by violence and to provide aid, especially for the most urgent needs of the many who have been forced to flee and who depend on the solidarity of others," the Vatican said in a statement.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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