A security member holds a candle as he attends a mass on Christmas Eve at the Mar Shemoni church in the town of Bartella east of Mosul, December 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
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Hymns filled a church in Iraq's second city Mosul on Sunday as worshippers celebrated Christmas for the first time in four years after the end of extremist rule.Iraqi forces expelled the extremists from the city this year after months of battle, allowing Christians to return to pray at Saint Paul's church.Farqad Malko, a Christian woman in the congregation, said celebrating the mass on Christmas Eve was "important to relaunch Christian life" in the city.She is one of the few to have returned to the area after Iraqi forces defeated Daesh in the city in July.
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