Islamic State militants in Iraq have blown up the remnants of the prestigious Latin Church, dubbed the “Clock Church” for its prominent clock tower in central Mosul, according to the Patriarch of the Chaldeans, Louis Raphael Sacco.
Militants cordoned off areas surrounding the church and looted the building for profitable artifacts and antiquities before destroying the remaining parts with explosives, an Iraqi Christian community leader confirmed to The Foreign Desk.
The Clock Church, which had its clock tower gifted in 1873 to Iraqi Christians by Napoleon III’s wife, French Empress Eugénie, became a target of ISIS attacks in February 2015, when its cross was removed in an attack, according to Iraqi blog Niqash.
In a city that was once home to about 45 churches, most of Mosul’s churches have either been destroyed or turned into courts or jailhouses since the Islamic State takeover in June 2014.
In addition, Christians living under ISIS are not permitted to build any new churches, religious facilities, nor are they allowed to repair existing ones; cannot publicly show any crosses, pray or recite the Bible in public, are prohibited from any acts of aggression against the Islamic State, are forbidden from stopping the conversion of any Christian to the religion of Islam and cannot sell pork products or alcohol to any Muslims nor consume these products, forbidden in Islam, in public.