Iraqi city officials urge Christian refugees to return after Islamic State driven out

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City officials in Basra, Iraq, are welcoming Christians back into the city, promising help in rebuilding churches.
Khalaf Abdul al Samad, the president of the city council, visited an Armenian Apostolic church in Basra to celebrate the new year, and issued a call for Christian refugees to return to their homes, the Fides news service reports.

The Christian population of Basra has plummeted in recent years, from about 2,500 families before the Iran-Iraq war to perhaps a few hundred souls today. City officials have said that they will welcome back any Christians who fled as the Islamic State moved in to control the region.