It has emerged almost 26,000 Christians have now returned to their homes, nearly two years since Islamic State (IS) was driven from their city in the Nineveh Plains...
Pope hands over keys to Lamborghini for war-hit Iraqi Christians
Pope Francis has parted ways with a luxury car, with the money raised by its sale being used to restore Church buildings destroyed by Islamic State in Iraq.
A silver and gold Huracán Coupé presented to the pope by Italian car marker Lamborghini in 2017 was entered into a lottery which raised €200,000.
The sum (equivalent to £171,000) has been donated by the pontiff to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to fund the restoration of a nursery and a community centre.
The two Syriac Catholic sites are located in the Nineveh Plains village of Bashiqa - where an estimated 3,000 Christians were forced from their homes by the arrival of IS in 2014.
Across the region, tens of thousands of families have been returning since extremists were expelled.
According to ACN, more than two-thirds of homes destroyed in Bashiqa have since been rebuilt, while around 50 per cent of its Christian residents (1,600) have returned.
The lottery, which saw tickets sold for $10 each, was held after a €715,000 bid for the car at Sotheby's auction in Monaco last summer fell through.
As of last month, more than 9,100 families had gone back to their homes in the Nineveh Plains. There were 20,000 living there before IS.
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