Media reports have surfaced indicating that the Islamic State has blown up the homes of 10 Christian families in the northern Ninevah province of Iraq, while a leading human rights organization has reported that Iraqi Security Forces burned down two whole Sunni civilian villages in Iraq last September.
As the Islamic State's systematic destruction of Christian property in Iraq continues, a security source has revealed that the militant group blew up and demolished 10 homes belonging to Christian families in Iraq's depleted northern Ninevah province.
The anonymous security source told Iraq's al-Sumaria satellite television network that ISIS militants raided the abandoned homes on Tuesday in the town of Qada' Talkif, which is about 15 miles northeast of ISIS' Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.
He explained that after the militants stole valuables from the homes, they demolished the homes by setting off explosions, which is consistent with the group's latest trend of destruction against religious minorities' property.
ISIS' demolition of the Christian homes comes after it was reported that ISIS militants blew up a sacred Yazidi site and many Yazidi homes in the Sinjar region just outside of Mosul last weekend.
"This morning ISIS militants bombed the [Sinjar] minaret, which was the most historical [Yazidi] heritage site in the city," Kurdish peshmerga commander Isa Zeway told the Iraqi news site Rudaw. "Since the early morning, ISIS has begun bombing homes inside [Sinjar]."
ISIS also recently released pictures on Twitter showing the group blowing up the ancient Christian Mar Behnam Monastery located in what was once a predominantly Christian town in Qaraqosh. The monastery dates back to the fourth century and was known to contain one of the most valuable Syrian libraries in Iraq.
The released photos also showed the group's bombing of the tombs of Saint Behnam and Saint Sarah, who were both converted to Christianity by Saint Matthew.
About a week before the bombing of Christian Mar Behnam Monastery, ISIS released photos showing its militants ransacking the 10th century St. George Chaldean Catholic Monastery in Mosul. Photos showed militants taking down the cross from the top of the church's dome, raising ISIS flags and destroying Christian artifacts.
On Feb. 19, ISIS blew up Mosul's Virgin Mary Church with improvised explosive devices, Iraqi News reported. Prior to the explosion of the church, ISIS was using it to house its foreign leaders from Europe and East Asia.
As previously reported by The Christian Post, ISIS fighters in the Nineveh province have also taken on the practice of setting up explosives inside of Christian homes so that the houses blow up should the Christian families return to their homes.
A Christian man named Ayad, who was displaced from the Iraqi village of Tel Keppe, explained during a video interview with World Council of Churches that one man fell victim to ISIS' booby-trapped explosion when he returned to his house.
"Some of the houses in the village are burned. Some are bombed and destroyed. Some are robbed. We heard of one man who tried to enter his house and as soon as he opened the door, the house exploded," Ayad said. "As ISIS forces leave, they are planting explosions inside the houses so that if people return they will be victims of the blast."
Unfortunately, the Islamic State is not the only group guilty of destroying civilians homes in Iraq. According to Human Rights Watch, Iraqi security forces and volunteer fighters ransacked and burned down homes of civilian Sunni Muslims after they liberated the town of Amerli from the Islamic State.
The report states that the militias destroyed at least two entire villages, but it is uncertain as to whether the attacks were revenge attacks against the Sunnis because of the fact they belong to the same theological Islamic sect that ISIS prescribes to.
"Iraq clearly faces serious threats in conflict with ISIS, but the abuses committed by forces fighting ISIS are so rampant and egregious that they are threatening Iraq long term," Joe Stork, HRW's deputy Middle East and North Africa director told The Independent. "Iraqis are caught between the horrors ISIS commits and the abusive behaviour by militias, and ordinary Iraqis are paying the price."
In responding to the HRW allegation, the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi sent a letter stating that the burning of Sunni homes was a result of "individual lapses unconnected to government conduct." Although arrests have been made on some troops involved in the burning of the homes, the letter stated that alleged victims did not testify in court so the perpetrators could not be prosecuted.