Iraqis mark Christmas Eve in town recaptured from jihadists

An Iraqi general attends a Christmas Eve service for Iraqi Christians at the Mar Shimoni church in the town of Bartalla near Mosul, on December 24, 2016Iraqi Christians held a Christmas Eve service in a town near Mosul on Saturday for the first time since its recapture from the jihadists. The Islamic State group destroyed crosses at the Mar Shimoni church in the town of Bartalla and set it alight, but volunteers worked for days to ready it for the service, the first held here in more than two and a half years. “We want to deliver the message that we are staying in this country and that these are our roots and our origins,” Father Yaqub Saadi, the church’s priest, told AFP.

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