UN brings aid to Iraqi Christians chased from Mosul

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The U.N. refugee agency says it's rushing aid to thousands of Christians who have fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says some 13,000 Christians have been chased from the city by threats and extremist attacks this month. That's more than half the Christian community there.

No group has claimed responsibility, but some blame Sunni extremists.

Meanwhile in Baghdad, a prominent Shiite cleric is calling for unity and rational debate as lawmakers consider a U.S.-Iraq security deal. The pact would give the U.S. legal basis for keeping forces in Iraq for three more years.

Critics call the deal an infringement on Iraq's sovereignty. Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr marched through the capital by the thousands last week, calling for an end to the U.S. presence in Iraq.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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