Transcript for Couple Works to Rescue More Than 100 Christians Fleeing ISIS
Thank you very much. We have a great story we turn to. A Christmas miracle for more than 100 Christians, a dangerous mission. "20/20" anchor Elizabeth vargas with an incredible story. These 149 Iraqi refugees are from the oldest Christian city in Iraq. Isis invaded their town telling them they had 24 hours to convert to Islam or be killed. Instead, they fled to a church in the nearby city of irbil where they've been living in a church courtyard for 15 months, that is, until two Americans, came up with a daring and risky plan to get them out. As Joseph and Michele Assad enter the courtyard of this church it's all systems go for the mission of mercy that will soon release 149 Iraqi Christians from the tyranny of Isis. When they began bombing two children and a woman died. Reporter: Their bags are packed. The charter plane is ready. With tears and heartbreak they have said their good-byes. Then suddenly a bombshell. The airport at irbil closes as they are ready to launch air strikes against Isis attacks in Syria. 48 hours later the airspace opens and this modern exodus from the shadow of Isis begins. Inside the buses, people are oblivious to the threat outside. ? Very good. Reporter: The buses arrive safely at the airport. For most of them this is their first time flying. The luggage carts and check-in process, everything is a new experience. The flight is called. And then the first glimpse of their chartered airbus a320 that will carry them away. It's a real plane. Reporter: The pasngers settle in. And the plane pushes back with no delay. The lights dim and on takeoff, a cheer goes up. As on a wing and a prayer the people break free of the bonds of their bloodied country. And those people will spend their first Christmas in Slovakia, all been paid for by donations. Glenn beck did a show on this and they raised more than $12 million from listeners, also the Hudson institute is paying the salary for Joe and Michele Assad, a lot of people chipping in to help them. Many countries turned them away. 12 countries turned those Christian refugees down before Slovakia said yes and there are millions and millions more Muslim refugees. We're still encountering a lot of anti-refugee sentiment here in the U.S. And around the world. Cannot wait to see the rest of this piece on "20/20" tonight at 10:00, 9:00 central right on ABC.
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