ISIS fighters destroy Christan homes and churches as they lose ground in Mosul

  • Written by:

Jardine Malado
(REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)An Iraqi Christian soldier attends the first Sunday mass at the Grand Immaculate Church since it was recaptured from Islamic State in Qaraqosh, near Mosul in Iraq.
Desperate ISIS fighters have planted bombs and vandalized churches in Christian villages as they continue to lose territories in Iraq.

Christian fighters who liberated the Christian town of Qaraqosh have sworn to rebuild their homes, churches and the community.

“We came into Qaraqosh with the Iraqi army to reclaim it from ISIS on the sixth day of the operation to liberate Mosul – we killed many ISIS fighters here,” said 32-year-old Christian fighter Saleh Abu-Yousef in an interview with The Sun.

Qaraqosh once had the largest Christian population in Iraq but many are yet to return. Abu-Yousef said that he himself has killed 11 to 12 ISIS fighters when they reclaimed the town. He noted that there are still explosive devices in the area.

A report from The Guardian revealed that the jihadist group had been planting bombs in colorful toys such as teddy bears and rabbits which explode when picked up by unsuspecting children.

One of the highlights of the Christian community in Qaraqosh is the Church of The Immaculate Conception. The Christian fighters found out that the church was desecrated by the jihadists.

Abu-Yousef pointed to the bullet-ridden walls of the church and explained that ISIS fighters had used the place for target practice. “They even cut the head off of our beloved statue of Jesus,” he added. He also mentioned that the walls inside the church had been “charred and burnt,” and riddled with ISIS graffiti.

Despite the condition of the church, the Christians still held mass there. Abu-Yousef noted that it was the first time for them to return to the church in over two years.

Sponsored Watch Your Favorite Christian Films, 24/7. Click Here To Start Your Free Trial Today

Much of the town is still in ruins and even the local businesses were not spared by ISIS.

“ISIS destroyed the shops and even the local school where my uncle taught. You can see ISIS’ hand of destruction everywhere,” said Abu-Yousef.

The veteran fighter said that he and his family were forced to flee to Erbil when the town was attacked by the jihadists over two years ago. He said he curently lives in a caravan in the Christian quarter of the city known as Ankawa.

“My house may be destroyed but now we have Qaraqosh back, I and other Christians will return. Qaraqosh is after all my home and I was born here,” he said.