ISIL terrorists desecrated Christian church in Iraq’s Mosul
ISIL Takfiri militants have vandalized a church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, a screen grab from a video released by the terrorists shows. The images show members of the group desecrating the historic Mar Korkis Church, Al Arabiya News reported on Monday, Press TV reported.
The militants are seen in the footage removing crosses from the church's structures and replacing them with the ISIL flag.
Other religious or historical objects such as paintings and statues are also vandalized by the group.
Last December, the terrorists torched a 1,800-year-old church and demolished mosques as well as shrines of Sunni Arab or Sufi figures in Mosul.
In November 2014, the Takfiri terrorists also blew up the historical St. George's church and the holy shrine of Prophet Yunus in the then ISIL-controlled city.
Iraq's General Director of the Department of Media and Relations at Ministry of Tourism and Antiques has confirmed that the artifacts destroyed by ISIL militants were authentic.
"Everybody knows that ISIL is fighting a man, a culture, a history. ISIL is the enemy of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Assyria and Nimrud are real historic sites and cultural heritages. So, the artifacts ISIL destroyed in the two cities are real," the Sputnik news agency quoted Qassem Taher Al-Soudani as saying on Monday.
A recently released ISIL video allegedly showed ISIL militants destroying irreplaceable ancient statues and artifacts with hammers.
According to reports, after viewing the video the curators at the Baghdad Museum claimed that the artifacts that appeared to have been destroyed were actually inside their museum.
According to footage released by the AP news agency, the tomb of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the village of al-Awja has been almost completely destroyed during fighting in the northern city of Tikrit.
Iraqi government forces supported by Shia and Sunni volunteers launched a massive operation earlier this month to clear Tikrit of the ISIL militants.
Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam, fell to the ISIL in June last year.
The city's recapture is crucial for the Iraqi army in its ongoing quest to wrest control of the country's second-largest city, Mosul, situated some 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of Baghdad, from the Takfiri group.
On Monday, the US returned over 60 cultural artifacts to Iraq, following investigation which proved the items had been stolen from the country and were being sold off on the international antiquities market.
The most valuable object being returned is part of a statue dating back to 713 BC which is worth $1 million to $2 million.
"The return of our looted archaeological items is a national project and we call upon all countries to help us in preserving this heritage," said the Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Lukman Faily.
ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily-armed militants took control of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country's Sunni Arab heartland.
The terrorists have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations, against all Iraqi communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and Izadis.