Police: 2 Christian brothers shot, killed in Iraq

Gunmen shot and killed two Christian brothers Monday in a northern Iraqi city in the latest in a spate of attacks targeting the religious minority, Iraqi police said.

Christians have been fleeing Iraq amid a series of attacks against them by militants who have vowed a campaign of violence against the country's Christian minority.

In the most serious attack, 68 people died after a group of militants with explosives strapped to their bodies held about 120 people hostage in a Baghdad church last month before Iraqi authorities stormed the building.

Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) north of Baghdad is home to a sizable Christian population that has repeatedly come under attack from Sunni militants who view Christians as nonbelievers.

Brothers Saad and Raad Hannah were working in their auto mechanic shop in Mosul when gunmen burst in and shot them dead before fleeing, police said. A local hospital worker confirmed the deaths. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Last week, two Christians in Mosul were sitting in their living room when gunmen burst into the house and shot them. That same night a house belonging to a Christian family in a different neighborhood of the city was also bombed, although no one was killed in that incident.

Earlier this month, five people were killed during a series of coordinated bombings targeting Christian homes and neighborhoods in Baghdad. Those attacks came after Iraqi authorities beefed up security at churches across Baghdad in response to the hostage crisis.

The attacks against Christians have drawn international condemnation, and some countries in Europe have flown Christians wounded in the church attack out of Iraq for medical treatment. But Iraqi church officials have also pleaded with the Christian minority to not be driven out of their homeland.