24 Dec '17, 3pm

Iraq's Mosul celebrates first post-ISIS #Christmas

MOSUL, IRAQ (AFP) - Hymns and cries of joy filled a church in Iraq's second city Mosul on Sunday (Dec 24) as worshippers celebrated Christmas there for the first time in four years after the end of militant rule. Mass opened with the Iraqi national anthem as women ululated, despite the modest decorations inside the church and the armoured cars and police outside. "This is a sign that life is returning to Mosul," said wheelchair-bound Hossam Abud, 48, who returned earlier this month from exile in Iraqi Kurdistan. Like tens of thousands of other Christians, Abud fled in 2014 as the Islamic State group (ISIS) seized the northern city and swathes of the surrounding Nineveh province, ordering the minority to convert, pay taxes, leave or die. Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church called on the congregation to pray for "peace and stability in Mosul, Iraq...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/world/middle-east/iraqs-mosul...

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