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Clinton says enough evidence exists to call IS persecution of Christians, Yazidis 'genocide'

BERLIN, N.H. — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she now believes the Islamic State group's persecution of Christians, the Yazidi minority and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East should be defined as "genocide."

Her declaration came Tuesday night in response to a voter at a town hall in New Hampshire, her last campaign event of 2015. Clinton said she's been reluctant to use the term in recent months because calling something "genocide" has broad implications.

The voter who asked Clinton to use the term "genocide" to describe the Islamic State killings cited world leaders including the Pope and various advocacy groups that are using the phrase to define the extremist group's killing of Christians, Yazidis, Kurdish Muslims, and other religious and ethnic minorities.

"Will you join those leaders, faith leaders and secular leaders and political leaders from both the right and the left, in calling what is happening by its proper name: Genocide?" the voter asked.

"I will because we now have enough evidence," Clinton replied.

The Islamic State group's actions, she said, are "deliberately aimed at destroying not only the lives, but wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in territory controlled by ISIS."

More than 100 members of Congress introduced a resolution in September calling 'atrocities' committed by the Islamic State group against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities genocide.

Clinton's evening town hall wrapped up her campaign travel for 2015. She'll return to the early voting state for more campaign events on Sunday.

Kathleen Ronayne, The Associated Press

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