Iraq jihadists blow up historic Shia mosque in Mosul

MOSUL: Sunni militants from the Islamic State group that controls large parts of Iraq have blown up a Shia shrine in the city of Mosul, an official and witnesses said on Saturday.

Jihadists destroyed the Nabi Shiyt (Prophet Seth) shrine in Mosul, the de facto Iraqi capital of the “caliphate” proclaimed last month by Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“IS militants stopped people from coming close, set explosives in and around the shrine and then detonated them as a crowd looked on,” one resident who witnessed the demolition told AFP. Seth is revered in Christianity, Islam and Judaism as the third son of Adam and Eve.

Shia mosque in Mosul

People walk through the rubble of the mosque of the Prophet Younis after it was destroyed in a bomb attack by militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL, in Mosul. (Reuters photo)

Sami al-Massoudi, the deputy head of the Shia endowment agency overseeing holy sites, confirmed that militants blew up the Nabi Shiyt shrine and added that they took some of the artefacts to an unknown location.

“These people follow this impossible religious doctrine according to which they must destroy or kill anything or anybody deviating from their views,” he said. “That simply has nothing to do with Islamhe added.”

The latest destruction comes a day after IS militants completely levelled the reputed tomb of Jonah (Nabi Yunus) in Mosul, sparking an outcry among religious officials.
“This most recent outrage is yet another demonstration of the terrorist group’s intention to shatter Iraq’s shared heritage and identity,” the top UN envoy in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said. Moqtada Sadr, a Shia cleric whose followers have taken up arms to protect endangered holy sites, also condemned the demolition of the Nabi Yunus shrine.

Shia mosque in Mosul

A boy holds copies of the Quran and other religious books from the ruins of the destroyed mosque of the Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul on July 24, 2014. (AP photo)

“He was a prophet for all religions,” Sadr said in a statement, adding that the perpetrators of the desecration “don’t deserve to live”.

Sunni and Shia religious officials have said IS militants had destroyed or damaged dozens of shrines and husseiniyas in and around Mosul since they overran part of the country six weeks ago.

Husseiniyas are Shia places of worship that are also used as community centres.

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