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Daesh razes to ground Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery

The file photo shows St. Elijah's Monastery on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq. ©AP

The Takfiri Daesh terrorists have destroyed the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq as they continue with their demolition campaign against historical and religious sites in the areas under their control.

Satellite images released by the Associated Press on Wednesday showed a pile of rubble at the location of St. Elijah's Monastery, situated south of the city of Mosul in northern Iraq.

The monastery, which had survived for more than 1,400 years, is believed to have been damaged at some point in 2014, after Daesh took control of the area in June that year.  

The partially restored 27,000-square-foot stone and mortar building had 26 distinct rooms although its roof was largely missing.

However, latest images show the stone walls "have been literally pulverized", said imagery analyst Stephen Wood, adding, "Bulldozers, heavy equipment, sledgehammers, possibly explosives turned those stone walls into this field of gray-white dust. They destroyed it completely."

Iraq-based Catholic priest Reverend Paul Thabit Habib, also expressed shock at the images, saying, “Our Christian history in Mosul is being barbarically leveled.”

The photo shows a US army soldier touring St. Elijah's Monastery on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq, November 7, 2008. ©AP

St. Elijah has joined a list of over 100 demolished religious and historic sites by Daesh. The extremists have looted museums and ruined ancient monuments in the Iraqi cities of Nineveh and Hatra as well as the Syrian city of Palmyra.

In October last year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved Italy’s proposal to send UN peacekeepers to protect heritage sites around the world from various threats, primarily terrorist attacks and destruction by militants.

Gruesome violence has plagued parts of Iraq and Syria ever since the Daesh terrorists launched their offensive and took control of portions of the countries. The militants have been committing vicious crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians in areas they have overrun.

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