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Five Christians freed in militant-held Iraq city: Cleric

AFP , Monday 14 Jul 2014
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Views: 944

Two nuns and three orphans were freed on Monday in Iraq's Islamist militant-held second city Mosul, the country's top Catholic leader said.

"Two nuns and three orphans were released today in one of the neighbourhoods of Mosul," Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako said, adding that they had not been harmed and no ransoms were paid.

Sako said that they have since gone to Dohuk province in the autonomous Kurdish region, which has largely been spared the brutal violence that afflicts other areas of Iraq.

He did not specify which group had held the five Christians, but Mosul was the first in a string of Iraqi cities to fall to a jihadist-led militant offensive that began on June 9.

Iraq's Christian community is a shadow of what it used to be -- once numbering more than a million nationwide, with upwards of 600,000 in Baghdad alone, there are now fewer than 400,000 across the country.

Many of those left were living in Nineveh province, centred in Mosul, before the latest unrest began.

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