A member of the Kataeb Babylon wearing a bandana with an inscription saying “Here I am, O Mary,” stands guard by the statue of the Virgin Mary.
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Father Charbel Issu stands before a shattered altar, spreads out his hands and begins leading a group of Kalashnikov-wielding militia fighters in prayer.Iraqi fighters battling to oust Daesh (ISIS) from Mosul recaptured the Catholic Mar Behnam Monastery Sunday, allowing its priests to return.Dating back to the A.D. fourth century, the Syriac Catholic monastery lies just 30 kilometers south of Iraq's second city which became a bastion of the militant group after it swept across northern Iraq in 2014 .Now, rebuilding the community will be tough, Issu said.The brigades fight under the banner of the Popular Mobilization forces, an umbrella for 40 mainly Shiite militias formed in a bid to counter the militants.They helped in the operation to wrest the monastery from the militants.
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