ISIS has sparked an international outrage after bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq.
On March 5, ISIS – which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria – began demolishing the site, which was founded in the 13th Century BC, Iraqi officials said.
The Iraq director for the UN cultural agency UNESCO called it “another appalling attack on Iraq’s heritage”.
ISIS says ancient shrines and statues are “false idols” that have to be smashed.
“They are erasing our history,” Iraqi archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani said.
Many of the artifacts found there have been moved to museums in Baghdad and overseas, but many remain on site.
ISIS “assaulted the historic city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy vehicles,” the tourism and antiquities ministry said on March 5.
It said the militants continued to “defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity”, calling for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss how to protect cultural heritage in Iraq.
A local tribal source told Reuters: “Islamic State members came to the Nimrud archaeological city and looted the valuables in it and then they proceeded to level the site to the ground.
“There used to be statues and walls as well as a castle that Islamic State has destroyed completely.”
Last week, ISIS released a video apparently showing militants with sledgehammers destroying historic artifacts in a museum in Mosul.
One militant was seen drilling through and pulling apart what appeared to be a stone winged bull.
That attack was condemned by the UN as a war crime.
ISIS has controlled Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and nearby areas since June 2014 – a region with nearly 1,800 of the country’s 12,000 registered archaeological sites.
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