In Rudaw 

Pope promised to support reconstruction of Mosul: Nineveh governor

Governor of Nineveh Najm al-Jubouri on Sunday said that Pope Francis on his trip to Mosul had promised to support the reconstruction of the war-devastated city.

“The local government in Nineveh Governorate cannot afford to remove the rubble from the old city,” Jubouri said during a television interview broadcast on state media on Sunday, noting that the selection of the location Pope visited in Mosul was in coordination with Christian clerics.

“The Pope sympathized with the scale of the destruction and promised us that he would support the reconstruction of Mosul,” he added, saying the papal visit itself sent a powerful message to the world about reconstructing the devastated city.

Jubouri called on the government to place a concerted effort in the near future to remove the rubble from the old city of Mosul.

Out of 60,000 compensation applications sent to Baghdad from people with damaged or destroyed housing in Mosul, only 2,000 of them have received a response and been resolved, the mayor of Mosul told Rudaw in January, calling the central government “negligent.”

The Islamic State (ISIS) group first swept through Iraq in 2014, capturing cities across northern and central Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and the capital of Nineveh province, where the group declared its so-called caliphate.

Mosul was severely damaged and some neighborhoods all but demolished during an offensive by Iraqi, Kurdish, and global coalition forces to retake the city. Control was finally wrestled from the terrorist group in summer 2017.

“After ISIS, we went back into a destroyed city. The former administration [in Baghdad] also acknowledged that the city is destroyed, but they did not do much for the city and have neglected the reconstruction process,” Zuhair al-Araji, Mayor of Mosul, said.

Earlier on Sunday, Pope Francis visited Mosul in a historic visit to Iraq and prayed in Hosh al-Bieaa, amid scenes of devastation and destruction.

“Whatever our religious tradition, live in harmony and peace, conscious that in the eyes of God, we are all brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said.

Hosh al-Bieeya holds the ruins of four Churches that were destroyed by ISIS. More than 30 churches have been completely destroyed in Mosul and none of them have been rebuilt yet.