Christmas Celebrated For The First Time In More Than Two Years In Bartella, Iraq

Christmas Celebrated For The First Time In More Than Two Years In Bartella, Iraq
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Christmas was celebrated for the first time in more than two years on Saturday in by the Bartella’s displaced Christian community.

It was an emotional return for those Christians who had been forced to flee when their hometown was overrun by the Islamist terror group. It was taken back from ISIS in late October. Hundreds of Iraqi Christians gathered in Bartella, near Mosul, for a Christmas Eve service – the first since this area was liberated from the Islamic State group (ISIL) in October. They came mostly from camps for the displaced that have been set up in the city of Irbil.

ISIL targeted all non-Sunni Muslims living under its rule. Christians had to pay a tax, convert to Islam or die by the sword. Thus, many Christians had to flee.

As mass was celebrated Saturday, dozens of Iraqi and US security forces were on standby to protect worshipers at the historic, battle-scarred Mart Shmony Church. A security officer searching cars at a checkpoint said ISIS had been threatening to carry out attacks in Bartella.

 

 

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