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AKIPRESS.COM - Militants from the Islamic State group blew up a mosque and shrine dating back to the 14th century in Mosul on Sunday, local residents said, the latest casualty of a week in which half a dozen of the Iraqi city's most revered holy places have been destroyed.
Mosul residents said the Prophet Jirjis mosque and shrine was bombed and destroyed by the radical jihadist group. They spoke anonymously to the Associated Press for fear of reprisal, the AP reports.
The complex was built over the Quraysh cemetery in Mosul in the late 14th century, and included a small shrine dedicated to Nabi Jerjis, the Prophet George.
The al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State group has captured large swaths of land in western and northern Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, which was captured in June. The group has imposed a self-styled caliphate in territory they control in Iraq and Syria, imposing its harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
Among the mosques destroyed in Mosul last week were the mosque of the Prophet Sheeth (Seth) and the mosque of the Prophet Younis, or Jonah, said to be the burial place of Jonah, who in stories from both the Bible and Qur'an is swallowed by a whale. The militants claim that such mosques have become places for apostasy, not prayer.
Since the Islamic State launched its blitz across Iraq, more than a million people have fled their homes, according to the United Nations. Many have escaped to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
In a statement published on Kurdish state media late on Saturday, the president of the Kurdish regional government, Massoud Barzani, said the bombing of churches and mosques in Mosul "is against all the principles of the heavenly religions, humanity, and it is targeting the culture and demographic of the area".