News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Jaco Klamer/Aid to the Church in Need
World News

Christians return to church used as IS shooting range

Mannequins were used for firearms practice at the fire-damaged Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, the biggest Christian town in the Nineveh Plains.

Manal Matti, who used to run a beauty salon nearby, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): "The jihadists used the church as a shooting range and the mannequins as targets.

"The mannequins are completely riddled [with bullets]."

"I do not know when I will ever be able to see the inhabitants of Qaraqosh coming again to my beauty salon."

Meanwhile, ACN claims St George's Syriac Catholic Church in Qaraqosh was used by IS as "an improvised bomb factory", and hundreds of bombs and grenades were found there.

Battle plans were scrawled onto church walls and chemicals were discovered, together with instructions about how to mix them into explosives.

Returning to Qaraqosh after being forced to leave in 2014, Father Sharbil Eeso told ACN: "Despite all the damage, I have hope for the future. If our security is guaranteed, Christians can continue to live in Iraq."

The 72 year old Catholic priest is one of the estimated 120,000 Christians forced from their homes following the IS invasion of Mosul and the Nineveh Plains in August 2014.

Louis Petrus, another Christian who has returned to Qaraqosh, said: "My house is damaged, most of my furniture has been stolen and my household effects are broken.

"The IS terrorists have destroyed a lot of my possessions, but I am still quite well off, considering the damage that I can see in my neighbours' houses.

"Many houses have been burned or even completely destroyed. I have been blessed."

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email