BAGHDAD, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki on Sunday slammed the displacement of the Christian citizens by the Islamic State extremist group from the city of Mosul as criminal acts, calling for a worldwide unified stand against the militants.
A statement issued by Maliki's office said that the threat by the Islamic State (IS) militant group, an al-Qaida offshoot, against the Christian minority in the areas that are currently under the IS control "reveals without any doubt the extremist criminal and terrorist nature of this group, and the danger it represents to the humanity and its centuries-old heritage."
"We call on the whole world to tighten the siege on them (IS militants) and to stand united to fight them," the statement said.
Maliki's comments came after hundreds of Christian families and individuals fled their homes in the militant-seized city of Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, by the end of the deadline of Saturday noon, declared earlier by the IS militant group for the minority to convert to Islam, leave the city, pay tax or die.
The statement said that the self-proclaimed Muslim's new ruler Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has granted the Christians another option, which is to leave the militant-seized city by themselves without their properties by the deadline of Saturday noon.
Iraq has been witnessing its worst security conditions that began more than a month ago when armed Sunni insurgents, spearheaded by an al-Qaida splinter group Islamic State, launched a surprise offensive in Mosul that led to the debacle of Iraqi security forces, and the fallen of a large part of the country's northern and western territories.