Central Library of Mosul (Photo: courtesy of the Library Website)
The Iraqi Ministry of Culture said the Islamic State group militants have blown up the central library in Mosul, destroying 8,000 books which included rare manuscripts.
The ministry described the incident as "crime against humanity and the Iraqi identity."
Deputy Iraqi minister of culture, Taher Hammoudy, said that "terrorists are continuing to commit the worst crimes and atrocities against the Iraqis, their sanctities and everything related to their culture, history and national identity."
An Iraqi activist, whose information came from eye-witnesses, told Turkish news agency Anadolu, on condition of anonymity for security reasons, that the IS group militants blew up the building causing a big fire that burned down the central library in Mosul and turned it into ashes.
The activist told Anadolu that the IS group militants burned down the library after the city's tribesmen failed to persuade them not to, after arguing that it is one of the oldest libraries in Iraq and contain gems from the Arab culture.
The fire gutted the three storey building, robbing the city of one of its most precious treasures.
Hammoudy said that the cultural and academic institutions of the Arab world share a direct responsibility for surrendering to the IS group culturally, and need to work towards raising a new generations of Arab and Muslim youth with values of tolerance and respect.
Iraqi news outlets reported that the IS group militants have burned about 100,000 books in Anbar Province as well asseveral other libraries in Mosul, which is under their control.