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Bullets whistled overhead, a black ISIS flag flapping in the distance, but all Friar Najeeb Michaeel could think of as he fled the jihadis was how to save hundreds of ancient Iraqi manuscripts in his possession.Michaeel first smuggled his precious library out of Mosul to Qaraqosh – Iraq's largest Christian town – during an Islamist insurgency in 2008 which saw thousands of Christians flee the city.So, when ISIS seized Iraq's second city of Mosul in June, a short distance from Qaraqosh, Michaeel again took action.When the jihadis descended on Qaraqosh on Aug. 7, forcing the last Dominican friars to flee, he stashed the remaining manuscripts in boxes in his car.Watheq Qassab, an Iraqi working for the Dominican order, helped Michaeel save the manuscripts.In Qaraqosh, Michaeel and his staff have been working for years to collect and digitize the ancient manuscripts, photographing them and storing them on a hard drive.
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