Historic Tomb of Jonah Destroyed by Iraqi ISIS Militants
An extremist militant group in Iraq has reportedly destroyed a significant historical site in the city of Mosul.
Residents say members of a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who overran the city in June, ordered the evacuation of the shrine of Nabi Yunus Thursday before demolishing it with explosives. The site is believed by Muslims to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Jonah, and it has been a significant archaeological site since the 8th century BC. The demolished mosque was renovated in the 1990's by order of then-dictator Saddam Hussein.
In June, ISIS called for the creation of a caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria, aiming to govern the countries according to strict 7th century Islamic law. ISIS has since targeted Islamic and Christian groups that refuse to embrace its fundamental interpretation of Islam.
According to an official at the Sunni endowment, which manages Sunni religious affairs in Iraq, ISIS extremists have destroyed or damaged 30 shrines, as well as 15 mosques and community centers in and around Mosul. Christians in the region have largely fled due to threats of execution if they don't pay a protection tax or convert to Islam.