Islamic State militants destroyed an iconic Iraqi church known for its soaring clock tower by blowing it up with explosives, media reports say.
The Clock Church in Mosul was built in the 1870s, The Telegraph reported Monday. ISIS fighters have shown no mercy to historic sites, also destroying artifacts across the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.
Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III – the last emperor of France – paid for the Mosul tower, historians say.
The tower rose over the rooftops of buildings in Mosul. Dominican monks at the church had to promise they would not climb up the tower and peer down upon residents sleeping on their roofs in the hot summer months.
ISIS did not explain why it targeted the church. The terror group has controlled the city since June 2014.
A number of news outlets said ISIS militants planted explosives under the church and detonated it. The building already had suffered damage from a 2006 bombing.
Empress Eugenie was said to have financed the tower’s construction as a reward for the Dominican friars who were attempting to end a typhoid outbreak in Mosul at the time.