Iraqi businessman erects tallest Christmas tree in Baghdad

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2016 12:39 PM

BAGHDAD (AP) — A Muslim businessman says he has erected the tallest Christmas tree in Baghdad as a show of solidarity with Christians during the holiday season.

Yassir Saad told The Associated Press on Thursday that the initiative aims at "joining our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations and helping Iraqis forget their anguish, especially the war in Mosul," where Iraqi forces are battling the Islamic State group.

The 85-foot-tall (26-meter) tree, with a diameter of 33 feet (10 meters), has been erected in Zawra Park in Baghdad. Saad says the initiative cost around $24,000.

Iraq's Christian community has steadily dwindled since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Christians have been targeted by Islamic extremists on several occasions, and have also fled the country for better economic opportunities.