World Bulletin / News Desk
The elegant columns of a west Mosul church stand plastered with ISIL group propaganda after the extremists' infamous religious police took over the Christian place of worship.
"No entry, by order of the ISIL Hesba Division (the religious police), they wrote on the building's outside wall.
Five extremists lie dead outside, their bodies twisted and one with the top of his skull blown off, after Iraqi forces retook the neighbourhood from IS this week.
The church "was an important office for the authorities tasked with making sure (Mosul) residents had a beard, wore short robes and followed their extremist convictions," says Lieutenant Colonel Abdulamir al-Mohammedawi of the elite Rapid Response Division.
Iraqi forces are pushing an offensive to retake the whole of Mosul, the extremist group's last major urban bastion in the country, after retaking its eastern side in January.
IS fighters took control of the city in 2014, imposing their harsh interpretation of Islamic law on its inhabitants.
Above the door of the ochre-coloured church, IS members have damaged a stone cross. Not far away, they seem to have tried to rip another from a metal door off its hinges.
Not a single crucifix, or statue of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary has survived in the building's nave, from which all mark of Christianity has been methodically removed.
Only the grey marble altar remains. In the church's empty alcoves lies the base of a statue that was probably also destroyed, decorated with red and yellow flowers.
The posters on the church's marble columns give an indication of what life was like under IS.Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Mart 2017, 11:05