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France's Macron visits Mosul in Iraq

Mon 30 Aug 2021, 12:56:16
Mosul: French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday visited Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, which suffered widespread destruction during the war to defeat the Islamic State group in 2017.

Macron began his visit to Mosul by touring the Our Lady of the Hour Church, a Catholic church that was badly damaged during the rule of IS that lasted from 2014 until the extremists’’ defeat three years later. Iraqi children dressed in white and waving Iraqi and French flags sang upon Macron’’s arrival.

It was the same church where Pope Francis led a special prayer during a visit to Iraq in March. During the trip, the Pontiff urged Iraq’’s Christians to forgive the injustices against them by Muslim extremists and to rebuild as he visited the wrecked shells of churches.

Macron moved around the church — whose walls are still riddled with bullets — amid tight security as a priest accompanying him gave him details about the church built in the 19th century. The French president then went up to the roof overlooking parts of Mosul accompanied by Iraqi officials.

“We hope that France will open a consulate in Mosul,” Iraqi priest Raed Adel told Macron inside the church. He also called on the president to help in the reconstruction of Mosul’’s airport.

Macron left the church in the early afternoon and headed to Mosul’s landmark al-Nuri mosque, which was blown up in the battle with IS militants in 2017 and is being rebuilt.

The mosque, also known as The Great Mosque of al-Nuri, and its iconic leaning minaret were built in the 12th century.                




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