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800,000 Iraq refugees from fighting this year, UN says

Refugees walked through a refugee camp outside Irbil, Iraq, on Thursday.
EPA
Refugees walked through a refugee camp outside Irbil, Iraq, on Thursday.

GENEVA — Iraq’s refugee population has increased by almost 800,000 this year as the government struggles against rebels and Islamic militants, the UN refugees agency says.

The agency said 300,000 people fled for safety this week in Erbil and Duhok as Islamic militants seize control of large areas in northern Iraq.

Agency spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters Friday in Geneva that many of the refugees are arriving with little more than the clothes they wear, and have no money and nowhere to go.

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Last week, the agency reported that nearly 480,000 people had been driven from their homes by fighting since January between government forces and rebels in western Iraq’s Anbar province.