‘Turned to dust’: holy warriors blow up Tomb of Jonah, the biblical prophet
The new jihadist rulers of Iraq's northern city of Mosul have destroyed one its most well-known shrines - the Tomb of Jonah. The shrine was built on what is regarded as the burial site of the biblical prophet known in the Koran as Yunus.
"Islamic State completely destroyed the shrine of Nabi Yunus (Prophet Jonah) after telling local families to stay away and closing the roads at a distance of 500 metres from the shrine," said an official at the Sunni endowment, which manages Sunni religious affairs in Iraq.
Witnesses said it took the Sunni extremists an hour to rig the shrine with explosives. "They 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," said a witness who did not wish to give his name.
The endowment official said the jihadist group that overran large swathes of northern and western Iraq last month had now destroyed or damaged 30 shrines, as well as 15 husseiniyas (Shiite congregation halls) and mosques in and around Mosul.
The official listed the most notable losses to Muslim heritage as being the shrines of Imam Yahya Ibn al-Qassem, Aoun al-Din and Nabi Danial (Prophet Daniel). "But the worst destruction was of Nabi Yunus, which has been turned to dust," he said.