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Christian militia claim victory over ISIS in Iraqi village

The Nineveh Plain Protection Units in training (AP)

An Assyrian Christian militia has claimed it has liberated a village in Iraq from ISIS with help of the US coalition.

The Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU) announced on Thursday that it had taken back control of Badanah in south-east Mosul. The group published video and images on Facebook of NPU fighters entering the village. In the video, the area appears to be deserted.

The offensive was aided by coalition air strikes and the Peshmerga – the Iraqi- Kurdistan military force. The local Iraqi Shiite militia also celebrated the liberation of the village referring to the Christian fighters as their “partners” on Twitter.

NPU leader Bahnam Abush told the Iraqi media: “The operation is a step towards restoration of their confidence and hopes for Christians to stay in the land of their grandparents.”

NPU has been preparing for the recapture of Badanah since at least February 2015 when it reported that at least 3,000 troops were in training to fight ISIS. The militia is made up of predominantly Christian fighters. The group receives funding from Assyrians living abroad. A number of the group’s leaders were officials in the Iraqi army.

The Nineveh Plains was captured by ISIS in 2014 and caused 125,000 Christians to flee their homes. Since ISIS took control of the area, they have used torture methods on the people there. ISIS has also destroyed a number of historical landmarks in the area such as the walls of Nineveh and the 4th century Mar Behnam Monastery.