The family of a six-year-old Iraqi Christian girl who was abducted by the Islamic State three years ago has thanked God for answering their prayers after the little girl was returned home over the weekend.
Christina Abada, who was abducted by ISIS in 2014, was welcomed home on June 9 after being liberated by Iraqi Special Forces.
"The best day of my life is the day when Christina came back," said her mother, Aida Nuh.
On Twitter, local journalist Steven Nabil translated Christina's mother as saying she thanked Jesus and God for her daughter's safe return and said she was "happy people prayed for them."
"It is a very happy moment; everybody is dancing and clapping and singing," one Christian woman told a World Watch Monitor contact from the Ashti refugee camp, near Erbil, where her parents have lived for the past two years.
"She looks OK, quite healthy. I believe she must have been in the house of a family who took good care of her. She was even wearing gold earrings, so it must have been a wealthy family," she added.
However, the woman notes that Christina seemed to be in "shock":"Everybody is asking questions and speaking to her, but she does not say anything back, really," she said. "She also seems to be overwhelmed by the huge crowd of people welcoming her."
Christina's blind father, Khader Touma, expressed belief that his daughter will soon readjust to her surroundings: "She stayed three years with the terrorists. Of course she forgot who her mother is, who her father is, that we are her family, but she will learn again."
Today, Christina lives with her family in a mobile home for displaced people in Ankawa, a Christian suburb of the Kurdish capital Erbil, east of Mosul.
"I'm with mum and dad," the little girl said.
Christina was among thousands of Christians abducted by ISIS after the terror group overtook Qaraqosh in the Nineveh Plains. At the time, the little girl's parents feared they would never see her again.
"My biggest joy would be when my child, Christina, would return to us," Ayda told persecution watchdog Open Doors in 2015 .
A year later, in September 2016, Ayda said: "part of our heart is missing".
"I fear my Christine grows older without me, that I will never see her again," she added.
Iraqi forces pushed the group out of Qaraqosh in October, part of a six-month offensive to retake Mosul.
An April report from the Telegraph details the devastation Christians encountered upon returning home: "The initial jubilation at Isil's defeat was short-lived. Families returning to celebrate after more than two years in exile were shocked by what they found," it reads "Almost every house was either burned or looted. Churches had been ransacked and anything the Islamists considered idolatrous desecrated. Five months later and Qaraqosh remains a ghost town. Just one food stall has reopened on what had once been its busiest thoroughfare."
Nevertheless, Reuters reports that Christians are slowly trickling back to the ransacked town. Many are simultaneously "beset by anxiety for their security" and "hopeful they can live in friendship with Muslims of all persuasions," says the outlet.