The radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has destroyed shrines belonging to two prophets, highly revered by both Christians and Muslims, in the northern city of Mosul, al-Sumaria News reported Thursday.
“ISIS militants have destroyed the Prophet Younis (Jonah) shrine east of Mosul city after they seized control of the mosque completely,” a security source, who kept his identity anonymous, told the Iraq-based al-Sumaria News.
“The militants closed all of the mosque doors and prevented worshipers from entering to pray,” the source said.
A witness who did not wish to give his name said that ISIS militants “first stopped people from praying in it, they fixed explosive charges around and inside it and then blew it up in front of a large gathering of people,” according to Agence France-Presse.
An endowment official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and Mosul residents told AFP it took the Sunni extremists an hour to rig the shrine with explosives.
The endowment official said the Islamic State jihadist group that overran large swathes of northern and western Iraq last month have now destroyed or damaged 30 shrines, as well as 15 husseiniyas and mosques in and around Mosul.
“But the worst destruction was of Nabi Yunus, which has been turned to dust,” he said, according to AFP.
In the Quran and the Bible, Prophet Jonah is famous for being swallowed by a fish. Dating back to the 8th century BC, Jonah is believed to be buried in Mosul and his tomb also a mosque is considered to be one of the few historic mosques found on the eastern side of the city.
Meanwhile, a local Mosul official, Zuhair al-Chalabi, told al-Sumaria News on Thursday that Prophet Daniel’s tomb was also destroyed. While Daniel is considered to be a prophet by Muslims, he is not mentioned in the Quran.
“ISIS implanted explosives around Prophet Daniel’s tomb in Mosul and blasted it, leading to its destruction,” he told Al-Sumaria News.
”Mosul is living in an extremely hard and horrible situation,” Chalabi warned.
Another source told al-Sumaria News that ISIS militants destroyed another shrine belonging to Imam Abu al-Ila in Mosul after implanting explosives in the circumference of the place. The source also said that a mosque in Mosul’s al-Faisaliya district was bombed in addition to a Shiite mosque, or Hussainiya called Fatima al-Zahra was also destroyed.
“Unidentified militants bombed Abu al-Ila tomb located in central Bab al-Jadeed area south of Mousl,” Iraq Press Agency quoted witnesses as saying Thursday, leaving “residential homes around the tomb severely damaged.”
On Wednesday, a security source told al-Sumaria News that ISIS has demolished tomb of another revered Imam Yahya Abu al-Qassem.
Early July, ISIS made headlines when its militants demolished ancient shrines and mosques in and around Mosul.
At least four shrines of Sunni Arab or Sufi figures have been demolished, while six Hussainiyas have also been destroyed.