The Iraqi government announced Monday (July 16th) the start of a campaign to reconstruct churches that were damaged in terrorist operations.
"The government has referred the project to the Ministry of Housing and Reconstruction to rebuild churches and monasteries, including old historical churches in Anbar, Mosul, Baghdad, Basra, al-Samawa, Tikrit and Kirkuk," said Salam al-Quraishi, the government's economic advisor.
The reconstruction project will cost 32 billion dinars ($27.4 million).
Al-Quraishi said the campaign coincides with the security forces' completion of a strategy intended to prevent terrorist attacks against places of worship in Iraq.
The government will start rebuilding the churches of Mar Kourkis, Holy Family, Mar Youssef, Mar Akhdam, the al-Rahbaniyya Monastery in Baghdad, the Virgin Mary Church and other Catholic, Protestant and Roman churches in Anbar, Ninawa and Kirkuk, he said.
Work began on these sites first due to their historical importance and because the amount of destruction incurred means it will take longer to rebuild, al-Quraishi said.
He added that the churches would be handed over to church leaders by Christmas.