ISIS Mosul
Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of MosulReuters

The ancient tomb of Hebrew Prophet Nahum Elkoshi is in danger of being destroyed by Islamic State militants as the extremist group encroaches on the Assyrian town of Al Qosh.

Elkoshi's 2,700-year-old tomb, inside one of the last remaining synagogues in Iraq and guarded by a family of Assyrian Christians, lies just ten miles from the from the front line where Kurdish forces are battling Isis, Haaretz reported.

Nahum, who is seventh in the order of the minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible predicted the fall of the Assyrian empire and its capital Nineveh in the 7th century BC. Al-Qosh, where he is buried, lies just north of Mosul which was seized by Isis one year ago.

His tomb and the crumbling synagogue around it are adorned with Hebrew inscriptions. Plans to repair the run-down walls of Nahum's tomb have been put on hold with the approach of Isis. Iraqi Christians and Jews alike fear the Islamist militants will wreck the ancient site if they take Al Qosh, according to Haaretz.

Nahum's tomb was reportedly visited by thousands of worshipers each year until the early 1950s when the Iraqi government began pursuing policies to purge the country of its Jewish population.

Before the last Jews fled Al Qosh, they asked an Assyrian Christian family to look after the crypt. That family has kept its promise for three generations with little help from the Iraqi government.

Isis controls about one-third of Iraq and Syria and has destroyed a number of ancient Iraqi sites in recent months including Nimrud and Khorsabad as well as the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra.

At the end of last month, Islamic State released its first video from inside Palmyra, showing the 2,000-year-old ruins of the Unesco World Heritage Site after it seized the area from Syrian government forces. It has since destroyed some statues but left the majority of the ruins intact.

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