Four metres below ground, in a tunnel full of the signs of recent Islamic State activity, the Qur’an was wedged in a gap beneath the ceiling. As Major Hama Chawri from the Kurdish peshmerga shone a torch around the room, one of his young fighters asked permission to remove the holy book.
“No, no, no!” cried the major, his voice reverberating through the tunnel. “Get out!” His alarm was prompted by a switch beside the Qur’an. “It is booby-trapped,” he said.