By Mohammed al-Ramahi and Azad Lashkari
BASHIQA, Iraq (Reuters) – The bells have rung out after two years of silence in the Mar Korkeis church in the town of Bashiqa, some 15 km (10 miles) north of Mosul, Islamic State’s last major city stronghold in Iraq.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters retook the town on Nov. 7, ending two years of rule by the hardline Sunni group which persecuted Christians and other minorities in the Nineveh plains, one of the world’s oldest centres of Christianity.
Women trilled to celebrate the moment when a new crucifix was erected on the church, replacing one that was broken by the Islamic State militants.
The town is largely empty as the Peshmerga have not finished clearing explosives and mines left behind by the insurgents in their fight against U.S.-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces who launched an offensive on Mosul on Oct. 17.
“We want people to…
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