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Christmas Declared National Holiday in Iraq

Iraqis attend Christmas Mass at Mar Youssif Chaldean Church, in Baghdad, Dec. 25, 2018.

The Iraqi government has declared Christmas Day a national holiday across the country "on the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ."

December 25 will now be a holiday for residents of the predominantly Muslim country, not just the Christians as it had been for decades.

The government said in a tweet Tuesday:

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. The number has fallen to about 300,000, with many being killed or forced to flee after coming under attack by various armed groups, including Islamic State, over the years.