ISIS Blows Up Jonah's Tomb

Mosul shrine destroyed as new president elected
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2014 12:27 AM CDT
ISIS Blows Up Jonah's Tomb
People walk on the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul yesterday.   (AP Photo)

Jonah, the prophet who ends up in a whale's belly, is as big a figure in the Koran as he is in the Bible, but that didn't stop ISIS militants yesterday from blowing up a shrine devoted to him in Mosul. Officials tell CNN that the shrine—one of several locations in the Middle East reputed to be Jonah's tomb—was blown up by militants who have been attacking numerous sites they deem to be un-Islamic. They ordered everybody out of the mosque before rigging the building with explosives and detonating them, witnesses say. According to some reports, the militants destroying holy sites around Mosul are also demanding that women undergo female genital mutilation.

The mosque, built on an archaeological site dating to the eighth century BC, was renovated in the 1990s and drew pilgrims from around the world until militants seized Mosul last month. The attack on the shrine came just hours after lawmakers elected veteran Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum as the country's new president, replacing Jalal Talabani, reports the AP. The news agency notes that the post is largely symbolic, but Massoum's election signals a growing degree of consensus among lawmakers. Earlier yesterday, 60 people were killed when gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying prisoners. (More Mosul stories.)

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