Tunnels under ancient Mosul mosque show Islamic State's focus on loot

Tunnels under ancient Mosul mosque show Islamic State's focus on lootBy Huda Majeed MOSUL, Iraq, (Reuters) – Extensive excavations by Islamic State militants under Mosul’s ancient Mosque of Jonah show they took care to preserve artifacts for loot, a local archaeologist said, in sharp contrast to their public desecration of antiquities. Jonah’s mosque was blown up in July 2014, but experts surveying the damage after it was recaptured in January by a U.S.-backed Iraqi campaign found a network of tunnels dug by the militants, leading down to a 7th century BC Assyrian palace. The careful way the tunnels were dug show the militants wanted to keep the treasures intact, said archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim, from the Nineveh Antiquities and Heritage Department “They used simple tools and chisels to dig the tunnels, in order not to damage the¬†artifacts,” he said, standing near the tunnel network which leads from the mosque ruins above ground to the much older subterranean palace.



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