Official: 122 Iraqi Christian families return to Mosul

Mosul, Iraq - Some 122 Christian families have returned to the troubled northern Iraqi city of Mosul since the March 7 parliamentary elections, a local official said Thursday. Representatives of the city's Christian population had earlier told the German Press Agency dpa that some 250 Christian families had fled following a string of deadly attacks targeting the community ahead of the polls.

Local government official Ali Mahmoud told reporters that in the days since the vote, some 122 families had returned home after fleeing to predominantly Christian towns to the east of the city.

"Residents of the city received them in joy and happiness," he said, "which shows the strength of the bonds between the people of Nineveh province, regardless of their sect."

Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh province are among the most ethnically and religiously diverse areas in Iraq, and among the most dangerous. Five polling stations were closed during Sunday's vote after mortar rounds injured at least six monitors at one station.