40,000 flee northern Iraq after Islamist militant threat

Around 40,000 people have fled their homes in northern Iraq after being given an ultimatum by Islamist militants to either convert to Islam, pay a security tax, leave their homes, or die.

Islamist militants attacked the towns of Sinjar and Zunmar in the area forcing Yazidi families from their homes.

Jawhar Ali Begg, a Yazidi family member and spokesperson for the Yazidi community said the Islamist fighters have hunted them down.

Thousands of Yazidi people have been killed. And thousands have become refugees.

Their town is controlled by Islamic State, and their shrine has been blown up by IS. They're killing Yazidi people and it's a big attack against Yazidis.

– Jawhar Ali Begg

The Islamic State, an al-Qaida breakaway group, captured large swaths of land in the country's west and north in a lightning offensive earlier this year.