Violence Declines in Iraq, Families Return

thumb_1194891980333_0p3978031253291041.jpgBy John Jessup / CBN News
Thousands of families are coming back to their homes in Iraq. And even a Christian church has reopened in Baghdad.
Violence in Iraq has taken a turn for the better.

The military says bombing and suicide attacks are down dramatically — down 77 percent from last year.Rocket and mortar attacks are also on the decline — down three months in a row and at the lowest level since February 2006.

The positive turnaround prompted Iraq’s prime minister to declare that “The sectarianism intended as a gate of evil and fire in Iraq is now closed.”

The numbers have been falling steadily since a spike last June and after a surge of 30,000 U.S. troops deployed to Iraq and initiated their plan to secure Baghdad.

Both Iraqi and U.S. officials say much of the success comes from putting Al Qaeda and other extremist groups on the run.

The same is true for the Al Anbar province, where Sunni tribes and clans continue to work with coalition forces to put Al Qaeda in Iraq out of business.

Just a year ago, U.S. officials had all but given up hope for the region.

But it’s not only the fewer numbers of attacks that are telling the story.

Another sign of progress, businesses are once again opening their doors and staying open later.

Eager entrepreneurs are applying for grant money to set up shop.

Also revealing a turn in tide, thousands of Iraqis who previously fled their homes for safety are now coming back upon news that their old neighborhoods are once again safe.

According to one government report, 3,100 people have returned to their homes in Baghdad in the past 90 days alone.

Perhaps most telling, this cross that now rests over St. John’s Chaldean Church in Baghdad.

The church closed it doors for more than six months because of fighting in the area.

The sharp decline in violence is not only restoring hope for some Iraqis, but faith that their country can be made whole.