Officials: ISIS blows up Jonah's tomb in Iraq - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Officials: ISIS blows up Jonah's tomb in Iraq

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(CNN) -- If you blink during the video, you might miss the moment Jonah's tomb in Mosul, Iraq, explodes.

The first few frames show the revered shrine towering over its landscape. There's a sudden burst of dust, fire and smoke.

Then, nothing.

CNN could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the video, which was posted to YouTube.

The holy site is thought to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale or fish in both the Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions.

Militants belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, planted explosives around the tomb and detonated the explosion remotely Thursday, civil defense officials there told CNN.

The tomb was inside a Sunni mosque called the Mosque of the Prophet Younis.

ISIS is waging war against the Iraqi government and has taken over several cities. It is seeking to create an Islamic caliphate that encompasses parts of Iraq and Syria and has begun imposing Sharia law in the towns it controls.

The group has threatened to destroy any shrine it deems un-Islamic.

Christian families fled Mosul this month after the al Qaeda splinter group issued an ultimatum to Iraqi Christians living there: either convert to Islam, pay a fine or face "death by the sword."

ISIS has blown up several Sunni holy sites in the last few weeks in Mosul.

Last month, it destroyed seven Shiite places of worship in the predominantly Shiite Turkmen city of Tal Afar, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Mosul, Human Rights Watch has reported, citing local sources.

The explosion at the tomb happened the same day eight people were killed and two others were wounded when Iraqi fighter jets bombed a store in the al-Dubat neighborhood, according to Dr. Mohammed Fadel, the director of Mosul's main hospital.

In central Baghdad, two car bombs exploded on a busy commercial street in the Karrada district. At least four people were killed and 14 others were wounded, police officials in the capital said.

Iraqi leaders elect a new president

Also Thursday, Iraqi lawmakers elected Fuad Masum to be the country's next president.

Masum is a veteran Kurdish politician and senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leadership council. He has been a member of the Iraqi parliament since 2005 and the head of the Kurdish alliance bloc there for the last four years.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Masum to congratulate him.

"They agreed on the importance of forming a new Iraqi government as quickly as possible and working to arrive at an agreed-upon road map for governance. President Masum expressed the importance of restoring trust and confidence among all of Iraq's communities and continuing to rebuild Iraq's relations in the region," according to the White House.

Meanwhile, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, was in Iraq on Thursday to meet with senior Iraqi officials.

"In our conversations I reinforced the importance of quickly forming a government that is inclusive and representative of all Iraqis.

"I also underscored the point that, in the absence of political movement, any support the U.S. Government might consider providing could have only limited, short-term effects," Austin said in a statement.

 

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