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ICC Note: ISIL was reportedly seen on Friday digging up what is believed to be the grave of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah, in Iraq’s northern Nineveh Province. This recent development signals a more aggressive form of sectarian violence that seems to directly target Christians. It has been reported that 11 churches and monasteries have been torched across the city. This targeted looting and violence has driven Christians to other countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and even into Western Europe. Without action, the Christian community may be completely eradicated from the region.

ICC has launched a campaign to provide aid to the Iraqi church to assist those in need who have fled from the attacks. Go here to find out more and donate: Iraqi Crisis Response

07/16/14 Iraq (Ecumenical News) – Members of Jihadist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are believed to have unearthed the remains of revered biblical Prophet Jonah in Mosul.

This act is fueling the fears of Christian leaders in Iraq that the persisting violence could spell the end of 2000 years of Christianity in the country.

Iraq’s Christians have long faced a siege but the latest onslaught by ISIL, also known as ISIS, has them caught in the crossfire of Islamic sectarian violence and also being directly targeted.

A local Nineveh official Zuhair al-Chalabi told Friday there was information “certainly confirming” that members of the militant group dug up and disturbed the grave of the prophet in the capital of northern Iraq’s Nineveh Province.

A video of the attack believed to be on the revered tombstone of prophet Jonah has also been posted on Youtube.

Al-Chalabi said members of ISIL have gained control of the mosque of the Prophet Jonah ever since they invaded the city, about 400 kilometers (240 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

“It is still held by them…elements of ISIL engaged in the process of tampering with the contents of the mosque,” he was quoted as saying.

The group has also torched 11 churches and monasteries out of the 35 across the city.

It has destroyed statues of poets, literary and historical figures important to the city, all in a day, quoted police spokesman Maj. Ahmed alObaidi, Ninawa as saying.

The looting and violence in Iraq have driven Christians away to neighboring countries like Turkey, Lebanon and to Western Europe.

If this persists, the it will likely hasten the demise of the nearly 2,000-year-old Christian heritage in the country, archbishops from Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk have warned, Reuters news agency reported.

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