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Iraqi Christians pray at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh for the first time in two years (AP)

The bishops were advised to give more attention to attacks on the religious freedom of Christians

A Christian Iraqi woman cries after she seeing the destruction at the St Addai church (AP)

A tomb had been desecrated and statue of the Virgin Mary was decapitated at the St Addai Chaldean Catholic church

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter looks at Islamic State positions during heavy fighting in Bashiqa, east of Mosul, on Tuesday (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

The ransacked church had been in ISIS’s hands for two years

Internally displaced Christian women pray during Mass at the St Joseph Cathedral in Ankawa, northern Iraq (AP)

Archbishop Bashar Warda said 100,000 people have begun preparations to return to ancient towns and villages in the Nineveh Plain

Civilians flee their houses, as Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces fight ISIS in the village of Tob Zawa (AP)

The villagers have been moved to a nearby camp for their safety

ISIS fighters torched a sulphur plant south of Mosul (AP)

Francis told the faithful in St Peter’s Square he was ‘pained by the cold blooded murder’ perpetrated in the Iraqi city by the terrorists

An improvised explosive device, reportedly planted by ISIS, explodes in front of Iraqi special forces vehicles near Mosul. (CNS/Reuters)

Archbishop Warda of Irbil said his country will require intervention in order to achieve reconciliation between the country’s divided groups

An Assyrian church in Irbil, where many Christian refugees from the Mosul area now live (AP)

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The Commander of the Joint Military Operation Commander, Army Lt Gen Talib Shaghati (AP)

The Iraqi commander made the call as the army approached a historic Christian town near Mosul

People who fled ISIS strongholds of Hawija and Mosul receive aid at a camp for displaced people (CNS)

Aid workers say the assault on the city is ‘just the first of several phases’ paving the way for Christians to return to their homeland