Moscow, June 15, 2017
Young Christina Abada was finally reunited with her family on Friday, June 9, after three years of separation. The girl, just three years old when she was kidnapped as her family fled the city of Qaraqosh, was rescued by Iraqi Special Forces and returned to her family at a refugee camp near Erbil, reports Fox News.
The family heard many rumors that their daughter was still alive for the first two years, but the stories had all but stopped over the past year, reports World Watch Monitor.
“With all that we have been through, we are overjoyed that our Christina has been returned to us safely. I thank all those who have prayed for her safe return,” her brother Yaz Khedher said, commenting on his family’s two years spent living in a caravan, and now in the refugee camp.
“I thank God for her coming back. We’re happy that people prayed for us,” her mother exclaimed in a Twitter video from local journalist Steven Nabil.
Christina was abducted by ISIS terrorists in August 2014. Hundreds of thousands of Christians had already fled from Iraq, but her family had stayed behind, hoping for mercy from the Islamic State as her father is blind. The remaining Christians were rounded up for fake medical check-ups, when one of the jihadis grabbed Christina from her mother’s arms.
“One of the Da’esh [ISIS members] came and inspected the people on the bus,” Christina’s mother Ayda told humanitarian organization Open Doors International in July 2015. “He walked up to us. He took my little girl from my arms and just walked away.” That was the last time her family saw her until Friday. Sources in Mosul report that Christina wound up living in the Tanak neighborhood of the city with a Muslim family that found her alone in a mosque.
“It is a very happy moment; everybody is dancing and clapping and singing,” one Christian woman at the camp said. “She looks OK, quite healthy. I believe she must have been in the house of a family who took good care of her.”