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The jihadists dug the network of tunnels to plunder artefacts under a hill reputedly housing the tomb of the Prophet Jonah, the Nabi Yunus shrine which they dynamited in July 2014."We fear it could all collapse at any time," entombing the treasures, said Layla Salih who is in charge of antiquities for Nineveh province."There are cave-ins in the tunnels every day."Iraqi authorities discovered the underground labyrinth, from which IS plundered to sell on the black market, after they recaptured east Mosul at the end of January.Miraculously, several choice pieces survived the looting and appear as the crouched visitor winds through the maze of tunnels with its scent of damp clay.

Mar Dinkha IV played a vital role in constructing Christian villages which were destroyed by the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein.Iraqi authorities found 107 items of pottery in a house east of Mosul that were in good condition and most likely exhumed from the tunnels of Nabi Yunus.- Picture of desolation -After their capture of swathes of Iraqi territory to the north and west of Baghdad in 2014, the jihadists carried out a widespread campaign of destruction of archaeological and religious sites.Many shocking scenes were filmed and posted on the internet, such as the destruction of Nimrud, jewel of the Assyrian empire founded in the 13th century BC, with a bulldozer, pickaxes and explosives.Texts survive describing the palace’s completion and inauguration, involving a banquet for almost 70,000 people.The number is probably exaggerated, but there is no doubt that this was a huge festival.