Mosul celebrates first post-IS Christmas

Mosul celebrates first post-IS Christmas”

Iraqi security forces Friday arrested 25 ISIL terrorist group members carrying false ID cards in the northern city of Mosul, an Iraqi security officer said Friday.

According to AFP, Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako from Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church called today on worshipers to pray for peace and stability not just in Mosul but in the entire world.

Outside, the portrait of a Christian killed under IS rule was displayed as a reminder of the city's grim recent past.

During the service, armoured vehicles sat outside Saint Paul's church and, inside, white sheets covered up bombed-out window frames.

Farqad Malko, a Christian woman in the congregation, said celebrating the mass on Christmas Eve was "important to relaunch Christian life" in the city.

Iraqi forces defeated the so-called Islamic State in Mosul in July.

That was part of a string of defeats which have decimated an organisation that once ruled over millions of people across large parts of Syria and almost a third of Iraq.

The Mass was held at the Church of St. Paul in eastern Mosul, pastor Saad Saliwah told Anadolu Agency.

In August, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the expulsion of Daesh from Mosul after a nine-month military campaign. In 2014, ISIS invaded Mosul, prompting numerous city's Christians to flee due to persecution.

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