Refugees fleeing from Mosul head to the self-ruled northern Kurdish region in Irbil, Iraq, 350 kilometers north of Baghdad, Thursday, June 12, 2014.(AP Photo)
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Hundreds of Iraqi men, women and children crammed into vehicles have fled their homes, fearing clashes, kidnapping and rape after Islamist militants seized large swaths of northern Iraq.The families and fleeing soldiers who arrived Thursday at a checkpoint at the northern frontier of this largely autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq were among some half-million people who have fled their homes since Monday, according to a U.N. estimate. Workers were busily extending the Khazer checkpoint in the frontier area known as Kalak, where displaced women hungrily munched on sandwiches distributed by aid workers and soldiers rushed to process people. One fleeing Iraqi soldier said he was ordered by his officer to abandon his post, even before Islamic State fighters reached the area.At the checkpoint, Kurdish workers erected shelters in anticipation of the arrival of more displaced Iraqis.Four men measured out an area amid a whipping dust and rain storm to protect the long lines of Iraqis from the sweltering heat.
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