1,400 Year Old Christian Monastery Destroyed in Iraq

'Pulverized' and reduced to 'pretty well dust'

According to satellite images, the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq was "razed to the ground" after ISIS terrorists took over the the city of Mosul.

The Saint Elijah monastery -- also known as Dair Mar Elia -- was located on the outskirts of Mosul. Despite its age, it's unlikely the monastery collapsed naturally, according to experts at AllSource Analysis, an imagery intelligence company which studied the photos.

Experts at Allsource Analysis say its unlikely the building just crumbled to the ground. "There's evidence that indicates the structure was 'pulverized' and reduced to 'pretty well dust,'"  Allsource said.

AP writes, "St. Elijah's Monastery stood as a place of worship for 1,400 years, including most recently for U.S. troops. In earlier millennia, generations of monks tucked candles in the niches, prayed in the chapel, worshipped at the altar. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ's name, were carved near the entrance."

"Bulldozers, heavy equipment, sledgehammers, possibly explosives turned those stone walls into this field of gray-white dust. They destroyed it completely," said imagery analyst Stephen Wood, CEO of Allsource Analysis.

U.S. troops had worked hard to protect the Iraqi monastery.

"I would imagine that many people are feeling like, 'What were the last 10 years for if these guys can go in and destroy everything?'" said U.S. Army reserve Col. Mary Prophit, who was deployed there in 2004 and again in 2009.