A Christmas service at a church in the Iraqi city of Mosul has taken place for the first time since militants from the so-called Islamic State were driven out of the region. In northeast Mosul, people attended a mass on Monday at the Grand Immaculate Church, surrounded by blackened walls still tagged with Islamic State graffiti. Dozens of worshippers prayed and received communion, and then gathered around the traditional bonfire in the church’s courtyard. The militants had ravaged Christian areas, looting and burning down homes and churches, stripping them of all valuable artefacts and smashing relics. Faced with a choice to convert, pay a tax or die, many Christians in the Nineveh Plains, chose to flee. In Baghdad, at the St. George Chaldean Church, Christians turned out in force to attend a mass on Tuesday. Key Shiite and Sunni clerics were also present at the mass.
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