Anglican leader Justin Welby on Friday said Christians faced “elimination” in the Middle East by Islamic State (IS) jihadists, labelling the group a modern-day version of the tyrannical biblical king Herod.

IS has attacked Christians, Yazidis, Shiites and other minorities across the region, killing thousands and uprooting ancient communities from ancestral lands.

“They hate difference, whether it is Muslims who think differently, Yazidis or Christians, and because of them the Christians face elimination in the very region in which Christian faith began,” the archbishop of Canterbury said in his Christmas Day sermon.

“This apocalypse is defined by themselves and heralded only by the angel of death.”

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