IS militants destroy ancient mosque in Mosul

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Updated 25 July 2014
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IS militants destroy ancient mosque in Mosul

BAGHDAD: Islamic extremist militants blew up a revered Muslim shrine traditionally said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah in Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, on Thursday, residents of the city said.
The residents said the Islamic State militants, who overran Mosul in June and imposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic law on the city, first ordered everyone out of the Mosque of the Prophet Younes, or Jonah, then blew it up.
The mosque was built on an archaeological site dating back to 8th century BC and is said to be the burial place of the prophet, who in stories from both the Bible and Qur’an is swallowed by a whale.
It was renovated in the 1990s under Iraq’s late dictator Saddam Hussein and until the recent militant blitz that engulfed Mosul, remained a popular destination for religious pilgrims from around the world.
Several nearby houses were also damaged by the blast, said the residents, speaking on condition of anonymity because they feared for their own safety.
The residents told The Associated Press that the militants claimed the mosque had become a place for apostasy, not prayer. The extremists also blew up another mosque nearby on Thursday, Imam Aoun Bin Al-Hassan mosque, they said.
The attack came hours after Iraqi lawmakers elected veteran Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum as the nation’s new president, as they struggle to form a new government amid the militant blitz that has engulfed much of northern and western Iraq.
Iraq is facing its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops amid the blitz offensive last month by Al-Qaeda breakaway Islamic State group that captured large swaths of land in the country’s west and north, including Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul. The militants have also seized a huge chunk of territory straddling the Iraq-Syria border, and have declared a self-styled caliphate in the territory they control.


Iraq must not be dragged into another regional war: president

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May shakes hands with Iraq’s President Barham Salih in London, Britain June 25, 2019. (The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office/Reuters)
Updated 27 min 58 sec ago
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Iraq must not be dragged into another regional war: president

  • ‘We cannot afford our country to be dragged into conflict’
  • Saleh said Baghdad’s priority was ‘stability’

LONDON: Iraqi President Barham Salih said Wednesday his country must not be dragged into another conflict in the Middle East, as tensions rise over its neighbor Iran.
“We have had four decades of challenge and turmoil. We do not want to be embroiled in another war,” he said at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs think-tank in London.
“We cannot afford our country to be dragged into conflict.”
With tensions high between Iran and the United States, Salih insisted his country would not become “a staging post for belligerents.”
“We are asking everybody to cool it down... enough is enough,” he said.
“We do not want to be a victim of a conflict in Middle East. We have not finished the last one,” the Iraqi president added, referring to the US-led war on terror and battle against Daesh.
“It is in our national interests to have good relationship with Iran,” he said, whilst adding: “The US is a very important partner for Iraq.”
Salih, who took office in October, said Baghdad’s priority was “stability.”
“We need to transform Iraq from a zone of regional and proxy conflict into a zone of trade, infrastructure development, and jobs and a future for young people,” the 58-year-old said.
Salih visited British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday for talks on security cooperation and nation-building.
May said Britain “stood ready to provide further support” to the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, her Downing Street office said.