BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Nearly 600 more Christian families have fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul over the past week, amid threats by Muslim extremists to convert to Islam or risk death, an official in Nineveh province told CNN on Monday.
Last week, Iraq’s Ministry of Immigration and Displaced Persons said 1,424 families had fled Mosul. Nineveh Deputy Governor Khasro Goran said the number has since risen to 2,000, based on the most recent figures from Nineveh’s office of Immigration and Displaced Persons.
Fourteen Christians have been slain in recent weeks in Mosul, which is about 260 miles (420 kilometers) north of Baghdad. On Friday, Iraqi security forces arrested four men in Mosul in connection with anti-Christian attacks.
Iraqi authorities believe al Qaeda in Iraq is behind the violence. Mosul is one of the last Iraqi cities where al Qaeda in Iraq has a significant presence and routinely carries out attacks.