A series of images have emerged which show the destruction of almost a dozen ancient shrines and Shia mosques in Isis-controlled territory in western Iraq.
The photographs, which show the destruction in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and the town of Tal Afar, were posted on a website which frequently carries official statements from the Islamic State extremist group.
Some of the photos show bulldozers plowing through walls, while others show buildings being demolished by explosives in a cloud of smoke and rubble.
A series of images have emerged which show the destruction of almost a dozen ancient shrines and Shia mosques in Isis-controlled territory in western Iraq. Pictured is the Shia Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque in Mosul, Iraq
The photographs were posted on a website which frequently carries official statements from the Islamic State extremist group
Residents from both Mosul and Tal Afar confirmed the destruction of the sites, Associated Press has reported.
Sunni extremists consider Shia Muslims heretics, and the veneration of saints apostasy.
A Twitter feed attributed to Isis, which reportedly carried the images, described the buildings as pagan ‘temples’, according to The Times.
‘We feel very sad for the demolition of these shrines, which we inherited from our fathers and grandfathers,’ Ahmed, a 51-year-old Mosul resident, said, the Times of India reported.
He added: ‘They are landmarks in the city.’
Security agencies in Iraq, meanwhile, were yesterday working to verify the authenticity of a video that purportedly shows the leader of Islamic State delivering a sermon at the Great Mosque in Mosul.
A bulldozer plows through a wall of the Sunni Ahmed al-Rifai shrine and tomb in Mahlabiya district outside of Tal Afar, Iraq
Residents from both Mosul and Tal Afar confirmed the destruction of the sites
The video said to show Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reportedly filmed on Friday. It was posted on at least two websites known to be used by the organization and bore the logo of its media arm.
The sermon in Mosul would be the first public appearance for al-Baghdadi, a shadowy figure who has emerged as perhaps the preeminent figure in the international jihadi community.
Al-Baghdadi, who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, took over the group four years ago and has since transformed it from an al-Qaida affiliate focused on Iraq into an independent transnational force that controls a huge stretch of land straddling the Syria-Iraq border.
Among the pictures to have emerged is this image of the Shia Jawad Husseiniya mosque in Tal Afar, Iraq
The mosque is destroyed in a cloud of dust and rubble following an explosion
Iraqi military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi told reporters on Sunday that the country’s security services are still analyzing the 21-minute video to verify whether the speaker is indeed al-Baghdadi, and that the government will ‘announce the details once they are available.’
The purported appearance in Mosul, a city of some 2 million that the militants seized last month, came five days after al-Baghdadi’s group declared the establishment of an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the territories it has seized in Iraq and Syria.
The group proclaimed al-Baghdadi the leader of its state and demanded that all Muslims pledge allegiance to him.
~ Daily Mail