France offers asylum to Christians of north Iraq

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PARIS (AP) - France is ready to open its door to Christians from northern Iraq who were hounded out of their homes by extremist Islamic militants.

France's interior and foreign ministers said in a joint statement on Monday that "we are ready, if they wish, to help (them) gain asylum on our soil."

Most Christians left Mosul - Iraq's second-largest city and home to some of the most ancient Christian communities - after the Islamic State and other Sunni militants captured the city June 10 in a brutal march across swaths of Iraq. The militants gave them a deadline, since passed, to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, "France is revolted" and has provided "exceptional humanitarian aid" to help.

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