Seven young women in Kirkuk, Iraq, credit the Virgin Mary for their safety after spending a harrowing eight hours hidden underneath beds while IS fighters used their room as a hideout during an assault on the city.
“The Virgin Mary was with them,” Fr Roni Momika told CNA.
The priest, who ministers in refugee camps in northern Iraq, was in mobile phone contact with two of the young women while they hid under the beds. They gave him a blow-by-blow account of what was happening.
Seven women, university students in Kirkuk, found themselves threatened by the Islamic State group’s assault on the city on Friday.
“ISIS entered the house of our students, the girls,” the priest reported.
When they heard the militants coming, the women quickly darted under four beds in one of the rooms, where they remained undiscovered for eight hours as IS fighters used the room as a refuge to eat, pray, and hide from Iraqi Army forces.
“I was speaking with them all the time,” Fr Momika said, noting how there was “a strong girl” who told him “Father, I will continue speaking with you and tell you all our news and what IS is saying.”
For the duration of their time there, the militants not only ate and prayed, but used the beds to care for two of their fighters who were wounded.
“On one bed there is a lot of blood,” the priest said.