KABUL: (Middle East Press) The ISIL militants has destroyed a Christian history the 4th Century Mar Benham monastery in Iraq using explosives.
The ancient building, built by Assyrian king Senchareb 1,600 years ago, stood in the Christian-dominated town of Bakhdida, just 20 miles south east of oil rich ISIS stronghold Mosul.
The attack was later confirmed by Kurdish journalists familiar with developments in the city.
Locals took to social media to share images of the massive blast, which reduced the ancient monastery to little more than vast piles of rubble.
Mar Benham monastery was captured by ISIL last July in a lightning advance that saw the militants grab control of swathes of northern Iraq – including the country’s second largest city, Mosul.
Resident monks who live in the building – which is also known as the Monastery of the Martyrs Saint Behnam and his Sister Sarah, and was once visited by thousands of Christians and Muslims every year – were subsequently forced to leave and flee to nearby Christian villages.
The destruction of the religious building was subsequently confirmed by Barzan Sadiq, executive producer at Kurdish Rudaw media network, according to the International Business Times.