Austria grants refuge to 30 Iraqi Christians

Austria says it is granting asylum to 30 Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution in their homeland.

The foreign ministry says the group is due in Vienna on Thursday and will receive refugee status.

Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said in the long run measures are needed to ensure that Iraq's ancient Christian community continues to exist and has the possibility to practice its religion freely.

At least 68 people were killed in October when militants stormed a Baghdad church during Mass and took the congregation hostage. Other attacks have followed.