Middle East

Ancient palace revealed under destroyed Mosul shrine

  • Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017.

    Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017.  (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

  • Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017

    Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017  (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

  • Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017.

    Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017.  (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Iraqi archaeologists think that tunnels dug by Islamic State militants under a destroyed shrine in Mosul have revealed the palace of an ancient Assyrian king who ruled some 2,700 years ago.

ISIS fighters blew up the shrine of the biblical Jonah's tomb in 2014 after taking control of the city. They started digging tunnels into the side of the hill under the shrine, leading to the discovery.

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Ancient inscriptions and winged bulls and lions were found deep in the tunnels, thought to be part of the palace of King Esarhaddon, who ruled the Neo-Assyrian empire in the 7th century B.C.

The militants may have been looking for artifacts to loot. ISIS was pushed out of eastern Mosul by Iraqi forces in January. The battle continues for western Mosul.