Iraqi Christians at a Christmas service in Arbil. There are fears that worshippers may be forced to leave the countrySAFIN HAMED/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Tensions in Iraq could lead to renewed persecution of Christians, local bishops have warned.
The US airstrike last week that killed the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and the Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, followed by retaliatory ballistic missile attacks on US airbases in Arbil, have led to fears of a mass exodus of Christians from Iraq.
Iraqi Christians are particularly concerned about being perceived as pro-western and pro-American, which makes them targets for attacks by Shia militia groups, said John Pontifex, the head of press at the UK charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).