The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has taken over many areas of Iraq, including Mosul, Tikrit, and towns in Salah al-Din province and there is fear that they will continue their advance towards the capital, Baghdad. The Iraqi Government has asked for help to the US To fight them. Human Rights Watch warns that the advance of ISIL in Iraq and Syria puts civilians in danger.
Iraqi officials say bombings targeting Christians in southern Baghdad have killed at least 38 people on Christmas day. Pope Francis appealed on Thursday for Christians who suffer violence, discrimination and all way of injustice because of their faithfulness to Christ and His Gospel.
Four journalists have been assassinated in Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s Ninewa Province, since early October 2013. A local journalist told Human Rights Watch that security forces have a list of 44 journalists that armed groups in the area have targeted for assassinations. At the same time, Iraqi prosecutors have stepped up criminal prosecutions of journalists for defamation and have increased other harassment of journalists.