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Iraq: Christmas services held in areas recently retaken from ISIL control

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By Euronews
Iraq: Christmas services held in areas recently retaken from ISIL control

<p>Iraqi Christians gathered for church services in Qaraqosh and Bashiqa, near Mosul in Niveneh province, for church services on 25 December.</p> <p>These areas were recently retaken by the Iraqi army from Islamic State group (<span class="caps">ISIL</span>) control.</p> <p>Many of those present were celebrating Christmas for the first time since 2013. </p> <p>Practising Christianity was strictly forbidden for more than two years and most Christians fled the area when the militants seized power in 2014.</p> <p>Meanwhile in Mosul itself, which remains partly under <span class="caps">ISIL</span> control, civilians continued to flee areas in the east of the city recaptured from <span class="caps">ISIL</span>, following counter-attacks from the militants.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ten weeks into the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mosul?src=hash">#Mosul</a> operation, over 110K Iraqis have been displaced. Most are in desperate need of assistance. <a href="https://t.co/CHZMDfDQHg">pic.twitter.com/CHZMDfDQHg</a></p>— <span class="caps">IOM</span> (@UNmigration) <a href="https://twitter.com/UNmigration/status/812784070748995585">December 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Nearly 100,000 people have fled the city, according to the International Organization for Migration (<span class="caps">IOM</span>).</p>