The Takfiri ISIL group has reduced to piles of rubble a monastery built by Iraqi Assyrians in the Iraqi city of Mosul as many as 1,600 years ago in another gruesome act of vandalism.
The Takfiri militants used explosives to raze to the ground the Mar Behnam monastery, built by Assyrian King Sinharib in the fourth century and located in the Christian-dominated town of Bakhdida, 32 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of the northern city of Mosul.
The monks residing in the ancient building were forced to leave the site. The monks fled the town and took refuge in neighboring Christian villages.
The Takfiri group has destroyed numerous ancient sites belonging to Assyrians in Iraq.
On March 11, Iraq’s Deputy Tourism and Antiquities Minister Qais Hussein Rashid said at a symposium called “ISIS: The Enemy of Humanity, History and Civilization,” that the ISIL Takfiri militants have burned 1,500 historical manuscripts in the country and sold ancient Assyrian sculptures on the black market.
He stressed that Iraq has managed to block the sale of some of the antiquities looted by the Takfiri militants in some international auctions.
The Iraqi minister of tourism and antiquities, Adel Shershab, also highlighted the illegal diggings by the Takfiri group in Iraq, urging “friendly countries to take a genuine stand to restore the stolen antiquities.”
One of the latest targets of the Takfiri group was the ancient archaeological site of Khorsabad. Situated 15 kilometers (nine miles) northeast of the Iraqi city of Mosul, Khorsabad was constructed as an Assyrian capital by King Sargon II shortly after he took power in 721 BC.
The ISIL terrorists have also damaged the two UNESCO world heritage sites of Nimrud and Hatra, both located in northern Iraq.
ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily armed militants took control of the country’s northern city of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland.
Iraqi soldiers, police units, Kurdish forces, Shia volunteers and Sunni tribesmen have succeeded in driving the ISIL terrorists out of some areas in Iraq.