December 30, 2015 / 2:14 AM / 5 years ago

Clinton: Islamic State persecution of Christians, Yazidis, a genocide

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens as she is introduced at a campaign town hall meeting at South Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, December 29, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

(Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said that Islamic State violence against Christians, Iraqi Yazidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East was genocide.

“I think I was asked this a couple months ago, and I said that term carries with it legal import, it is a very important concept and label for behavior that deserves that name,” Clinton said at a town hall in Berlin, New Hampshire, when asked about the Islamic State’s killing of Christians, Yazidis, Kurdish Muslims and other religious minorities in the region.

“I am now sure we have enough evidence, what is happening is genocide deliberately aimed at destroying lives and wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities,” Clinton said.

Islamic State has targeted and killed members of the Yazidi religion, one of the oldest in Iraq, along with Christians and other religious minorities in the region it controls in the Middle East.

The administration of President Barack Obama is weighing whether to designate Islamic State violence a genocide and which religious minorities would be coveraged by such a designation.

Reporting by Amanda Becker in Washington; Editing by Eric Beech and Michael Perry

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