The shrine of Jonah – revered by Christians and Muslims alike – has been turned “to dust” near Iraq’s Mosul. Footage of the event was posted online, and witnesses said it took ISIS militants just an hour to stuff the mosque with explosives.
“ISIS militants have destroyed the Prophet Younis (Jonah) shrine east of Mosul city after they seized control of the mosque completely,” an anonymous security source told the Iraq-based al-Sumaria News.
The extremist group ISIS changed its name from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) to just the Islamic State (IS), after formally declaring a new caliphate in Syria and Iraq at the end of June.
Muslims know the tomb as the shrine of Younis, whereas Christians refer to it as the tomb of Jonas.
Jonah is renowned for having been swallowed by a fish or a whale in the Bible’s Old Testament, with a similar story being present in the Koran. The site upon which the mosque had been built dated back to the eighth century BC.
“[The] Islamic State completely destroyed the shrine of Nabi Yunus after telling local families to stay away and closing the roads to a distance of 500 meters from the shrine,” an anonymous official from the Sunni Endowment, which manages Sunni religious affairs in Iraq, told AFP.