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HAWIJA, Iraq (ChurchMilitant.com) - A decisive military victory in Iraq came just days before the feast of Our Lady of Victory.
In one of ISIS' last strongholds in Hawija in Northern Iraq, the abandonment by Islamic State leaders has left soldiers demoralized and surrendering. From October 1–4, around 1,000 militants surrendered without much of a fight. Lieutenant General Paul Funk told USA Today, "The speed at which the enemy gave up surprised me." They had estimated that up to 1,500 militants were defending the city.
The offensive began on September 21, and after only three days of heavy fighting, the militants began to flee with their families or surrender to the Kurdish forces. Kurdish officials reported that other than ISIS militants planting bombs and booby traps, there was no fight.
Mohemin's story changed several times during the interrogation. First, he claimed to have never seen a beheading, later saying he went to one because he "was ordered to." When asked if this was just a plan to go underground, Mohemin disagreed, saying, "I believe if the governors are telling us to surrender, it really means that this is the end."
Investigators are identifying the violent terrorists by matching the militants to videos, showing the crowds of thousands participating in the public executions of Islamic State prisoners in Iraq. Those guilty of vicious crimes could face years in prison.
The New York Times reports "Kurdish officials have been perplexed by the numbers of fighters who have surrendered." Interrogators mention that they do not know the reason because even the militants do not know why the leaders are telling them to quit.
October 7 marks the 444th anniversary of the crushing defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. On that day, Pope St. Pius V led an all-day Rosary procession through the streets, and Catholics all across Europe joined in the prayers. When the battle began around midday, a sudden shift in the wind gave the Catholic forces a distinct advantage.
Divine favor showed itself through events big and small, and the Ottomans were defeated soundly. Throughout Europe, the victory was credited as a direct result of the intercession of Our Lady, and she was given the title Our Lady of Victory (now known as Our Lady of the Rosary).
On Saturday, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, an estimated one million people participated in Poland's "Rosary to the Border" to pray for peace for Poland and the world. More than 300 churches and 4,000 prayer zones along the borders, chapels and airports were filled with hundreds and thousands of Poles, attending Mass and praying the Rosary.
Poles are continuing the Rosary campaign by having 100 hours of continuous recitation of the Rosary in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions on October 13. They are inviting all to fast on bread and water for one day and pray for the intentions of our Lady of Fatima, that is, conversion of sinners and peace in the world. The organizers also ask for protection of life beginning at conception, as well as hope to make reparations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen believed Our Lady would be instrumental in converting the Muslims. He wrote, "I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as Our Lady of Fatima as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Muslim people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too."