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Islamic State 'put bombs in children's toys', says Iraqi cleric

Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need, Fr Luis Montes claimed that the extremists booby-trapped toys to stop refugees entering their homes.

Fr Montes said: "The mines first need to be cleared out of the entire region. Only then can the villages be restored, and [then] from the ground up. Everything still needs to be done, the people have nothing left.

"Despite everything, Iraqis have lost neither their smiles nor their hope."

He added that about 60 per cent of homes on the Nineveh Plains had been burnt down.

The Church in Iraq has requested continued support this winter, stating that the pressing need for refugees in Erbil is for "blankets and more blankets" as the average temperature is -3°C.

The offensive by the Iraqi army to drive IS out of the region is still ongoing.

As the terrorists make their retreat, they have reportedly destroyed more than 100 churches and Yazidi shrines.

The independent public database Iraq Body Count reported that more than 16,000 civilians were killed in Iraq in 2016.

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