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Islamic State blows up 900-year-old mosque in Mosul

Posted June. 23, 2017 07:13,   

Updated June. 23, 2017 07:17

The militant Islamist group Islamic State (IS) has destroyed the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq. Built in the 12th century, the al-Nuri Mosque is iconic cultural asset that is even pictured on an Iraqi banknote.

According to the Iraqi government forces and the New York Times on Wednesday, the jihadist group destroyed the mosque, as the Iraqi troops were closing in on key parts of Mosul. The Iraqi military’s Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yaralah said that the IS blew up the mosque as the Iraqi government troops were advancing to 50 meters before the temple and that the IS committed another “historic crime.”

Some observers say that the IS is in its death throes, committing vandalism while being driven out of Mosul, the group’s key stronghold together with Raqqa, Syria.

The IS has destroyed various historic sites in Mosul, calling them iconolatry and pagan culture. Among them, the group blew up the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah and the Monastery of St. Elian -- a revered Christian holy site in Mosul – as well as numerous ancient stone statues and sculptures kept in museums. The IS also made public its act of vandalism on the ancient relics in videos or photos.

However, many people are even more shocked by the destruction of the al-Nuri Mosque, as it is a historic Islamic site. Experts project that the destruction could have an adverse impact on the IS’s efforts to secure combatant personnel and win the hearts of local residents in the areas it occupies.

Se-Hyung Lee turtle@donga.com