Saturday, July 26, 2014

26 July 2014

Q: Do you have any news about the reported intentions of ISIL to blow up or destroy more shrines?

A: There are new reports on this subject. The gunmen are continuing to blow up some shrines and mosques in Mosul. Rumors today and some eyewitness reports indicate that the gunmen are preparing to blow up the shrine of the Prophet Jergis (Georges) on the right bank of the city. Other rumors tell of the possibility that the famous Al-Hadba'a minaret will also be blown up. No reason is known for the targeting of these places, but some residents saying that the aim is to destroy Mosul's historical, archeological, and Islamic identity and history.

Q: The citizens of Mosul are of course proud and protective of their city's iconic sites that are important to both the city and Iraq as a whole. Are there any reactions on the ground, other than those of dismay and sadness?

A:  Irrespective of the wave of anger and sadness that has spread through the city, there have been calls for the formation of armed groups of Mosul youths to protect the city and to rid it of these gunmen. Some are even calling for the formation of an army, to be called the 'Prophet Younis Army', that would defend Mosul and protect its historical and holy places. The governor of Nineveh had called for the formation of 'People's committees' when the invasion of Mosul began in early June, and is now saying that this is the time to activate these committees in the city's neighborhoods. However, residents don't have the weapons they need and are demanding that they be provided.

Q: There are armed factions that have been mentioned that have supported the gunmen who invaded and seized the city, but these groups are now reported to be withholding their oath of allegiance to ISIL. Is it true that some of the factions have changed their stance?

A: We do not have any information in this regard, particularly as the city's communication networks are severely curtailed by the central government. However, some observers of the Mosul scene are saying that their may have been some splits within the groups that have been working with ISIL and may now be working against it because of the actions they have taken in Mosul and their imposition of strict control on its residents.

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