Iraqi Christians Hold Christmas Mass in Baghdad

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Iraqi Christians refused to let the recent terror attacks keep them from celebrating Christmas.

Hundreds of worshippers gathered at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad where more than 68 people died in a terror attack on Oct. 31.

Outside, Iraqi troops stood guard as the faithful celebrated a Christmas mass.

"I love my country. I buried my parents here. I can't leave it," said Adiba Youssef, a 52-year-old woman who came to the morning service with her family. "We believe in God, and He will protect us."

Iraq's Christian leaders had called off official Christmas celebrations after an al Qaeda linked group declared war on Christians.

Nevertheless, churches in several cities held Christmas services.

Christian leaders estimate 400,000 to 600,000 Christians still live in Iraq, according to a recent State Department report. At one time before the war, that number was as high as 1.4 million by some estimates.

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