Islamic State terrorists reportedly blew up a church in northeastern Syria on Easter Sunday – the latest in a series of attacks by ISIS on Christian targets.
The 80-year-old Church of the Virgin Mary in Tel Nasri, an Assyrian village in Syria’s Hassaka province, was destroyed by ISIS terrorists. No deaths or injuries were noted, Reuters said, citing a report by the Syrian State News Agency (SANA).
Assyrian Christian and Kurdish militia have been battling ISIS in the region. In February, ISIS abducted hundreds of Assyrian Christians from their villages in northeastern Syria.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Assyrian Christians and other minority groups have been driven from their homes in northern Iraq, fleeing persecution by ISIS.
Before the arrival of Kurds and Arab nomadic tribes at the end of the 19th century, Christians formed the majority in Syria’s Jazeera area.
ISIS terrorists have destroyed numerous churches and antiquities in Iraq as part of an effort to erase the region’s non-Islamic past.
Assyrian Christian groups recently spearheaded an effort demanding that UN missions from various countries call upon the UN Security Council to issue a resolution against ISIS’s persecution of minorities and to take tangible steps to save vulnerable groups.
This latest attack by ISIS on a Christian community comes after ISIS terrorists in Libya beheaded 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians in February. The victims were described as “the people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” and a terrorist threatened during the horrific incident that ISIS “will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.”
“Due to an extremist and fundamentalist group, entire communities, especially, but not only, Christians and Yazidi, have suffered and continue to suffer, inhuman violence because of their religious and ethnic identity,” the Pope stated. “Christians and Yazidi have been forced out of their homes; they have had to abandon everything to save their lives, but they have not denied their faith.”
“Even holy buildings, monuments, religious symbols and cultural heritage have been affected by the violence, almost as if to cancel every trace, every memory of the other,” Pope Francis said. The pontiff himself had been threatened by ISIS.
By Aryeh Savir
United with Israel Staff
(With files from JNS)
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