Louis Raphael Sako (C), the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, leads a mass at the Sacred Heart Chaldean church on January 20, 2018, in the city Tal Kaif, north of Mosul. (Photo by AFP)
The governor of the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh says thousands of displaced Christian families have returned to the country’s strategic city of Mosul ever since government forces and allied fighters from Popular Mobilization Units fully liberated it from the clutches of Takfiri Daesh terrorists.
Nawfal Hammadi said on Sunday that more than 4,000 families have returned to the provincial capital city, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, and have resided in its eastern and western flanks.
Hammadi added that most of the Christian families had sought refuge in the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, after Daesh elements overran their areas and forced them to leave.
The official pointed out that there is now a small number of Christian families in Erbil province, who will return to Mosul once the current academic year winds up.
On December 9, 2017, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against the Daesh terrorist group in the Arab country.
On July 10, Abadi formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.
In the run-up to Mosul’s liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.
Nine killed in militant attacks in northern, eastern Iraq
Meanwhile, at least nine people have lost their lives when remnants of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group launched two separate attacks in the northern and eastern province of Kirkuk and Diyala.
Captain Ahmed al-Obeidi said Iraqi security forces found the bodies of five pro-government fighters, better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, outside their base in the town of Hawijah, located 45 kilometers west of Kirkuk, hours after they had been kidnapped by the Takfiri militants.
Obeidi added that the victims were found handcuffed and blindfolded with bullet holes in the back of their heads.
Daesh terrorists also opened fire on a civilian car as it was travelling along a road in the Hamrin mountains of Diyala province.
The attack left four people, including a woman and a child, killed inside the car and wounded two others.
The assailants fled the scene to nearby mountainous areas.