The Islamic State terror group’s offensive in Iraq is now threatening to take the northern Iraqi village of Al Qosh, which is home to an ancient Jewish shul that contains the kever of the novi Nachum, JNS reports.
The 2,600-year-old site lies just 10 miles from the regional frontline of Islamic State, which has been battling the Western-backed Kurdish Peshmerga forces for control of the area.
Nachum was the novi who prophesied the end of the Assyrian Empire and its capital city of Ninveh in the 7th century BCE.
The site of the kever used to be home to a small Jewish community and drew thousands of Jewish visitors each year. But after the expulsion of the Jewish community of Al Qosh in the early 1950s, the tomb has been watched over by an Assyrian Christian family while some attempts have been made to restore the crumbling site.
“When the last Jewish people in Al Qosh left, they asked my grandfather to watch over the tomb, to keep it safe. I don’t know much more than that,” Asir Salaam Shajaa, an Assyrian Christian born in Al Qosh, told Haaretz. “Nachum is not our prophet, but he is a prophet, so we must respect that. He’s a prophet, it is simple.”
Islamic State has destroyed numerous irreplaceable ancient artifacts belonging to the Assyrian people in northern Iraq, calling the artifacts false idols. The terror group released a video earlier this year showing its fighters smashing artifices at the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrod before blowing up the site. The terror group has also sold off numerous artifacts on the black market to fund its operations.
Last month, Islamic State conquered the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, home to some of the most magnificent Roman ruins in the Middle East. Many fear that the terror group will also loot and destroy Palmyra.