Residents of Baghdad have erected a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree to celebrate Christmas and to mark the end of the terror army Islamic State (ISIS), beaten back by Iraqi Security Forces.
The patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphael Sako, requested that followers pray for “peace and stability in Mosul, Iraq and the world”.
In 2014, ISIS militants swept through vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq, including Mosul, which they declared as the capital of their self-proclaimed caliphate.
During the service, armoured vehicles sat outside Saint Paul’s church and, inside, white sheets covered up bombed-out window frames.
Under IS rule any public celebration of Christian rituals was impossible and many Christians fled the city and persecution.
The giant tree made worldwide news, according to a Fox News tweet which read, “Iraqi Christians have raised a 30-ft. tall Christmas tree in Baghdad to celebrate both the holiday and the expulsion of ISIS extremists by Iraq Security Forces”.
She is one of the few to have returned to the area after Iraqi forces defeated IS in the city in July.
In August, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the expulsion of Daesh from Mosul after a nine-month military campaign.