Iraqi ministry slams ISIS’s project to turn Jonah’s tomb into park

People walk through the rubble of the Prophet Younis Mosque after it was destroyed by ISIS. (File photo: Reuters)

An Iraqi minister on Saturday slammed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) plans to turn the site of the tomb of the Prophet Younis (Jonah) in Mosul - which it destroyed last year - into a park as a “crime” perpetrated against the country’s heritage, a local news outlet reported.

Qais Hussain, the deputy minister of Antiquities and Tourism told the local al-Sumaria News that “there are reports about ISIS’s intention of transforming the tomb into a park and fun city which is another crime against Iraqi heritage.”

Hussain also said the ministry has “a plan after liberating conquered cities from ISIS,” adding that there is “a committee that is currently working to minimize damages being done to heritage sites.”

The site of the tomb is located in the northern city of Mosul, which ISIS seized in June last year. So far the Iraqi government, already backed with Shiite volunteer fighters known as the Popular Mobilization units, has not been able to recapture the city, which has become the group’s stronghold in the country.

Last week, a military officer also said the operation to liberate Mosul from ISIS has begun. But there is no news of any official announcement that the operation has commenced.

Hussain’s comments come after a local source in Mosul said on Friday that ISIS has started to leveling the tomb area and transforming it, adding that the group has already made its budget for the project and invited “specialized companies” to start building.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47