(AFP)- Mosul, Iraq — The brother of a soft drinks factory manager was shot dead by gunmen outside the restive northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday, police said.
It was unclear if “Ala Bashir” a 30-year-old Christian, was killed because of his faith. Thousands of Christians fled Mosul last year because of targeted violence in the city.
In Sunday’s incident, gunmen approached the factory, half-way between Mosul and the predominantly Christian town of Talkeef, in four cars — two BMWs and two Opels — according to a police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.
They beat the factory’s guard and demanded to see the facility’s boss but when his brother “Ala Bashir” appeared they shot him on the spot and fled.
According to Iraq’s human rights ministry, around half of Mosul’s Christian community, some 2,275 families, abandoned their homes and jobs in October to take shelter in Christian villages.
Since the US-led invasion of 2003, hundreds of Iraqi Christians have been killed across Iraq and a string of churches attacked.
Most recently, four Christians were killed and 32 other people were injured in seven attacks on churches in Baghdad and Mosul over a 48-hour period earlier this month.
In Ankawa town, a largely Christian town at the western edge of Erbil city, thousands of posters of different Christian political parties have covered the walls. Very few people want to talk about politics, however.
People on the streets and in the shops and cafes refuse to comment on the Kurdistan parliamentary and presidential elections that took place on July 25.
“We are not interested in politics.” “We don’t know who we are voting for.” This is what people in Ankawa say when asked to comment on the elections.
A number of youths sitting in front of a shop selling CDs near the main Ankawa town church at first refused to talk. Later, however, one of the youths, a confident engineering student who spoke fluent Kurdish, said, “Our main concerns are housing problems, unemployment and difficulty getting married.”
Although he said it is good to have their representatives in Kurdistan Parliament, he was not confident that their representatives will be able to obtain all their rights.
The elections ended last Sunday, and awaiting for results to be announced by the Independent Higher Electoral Commission.