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Friday, 6 March 2015

Islamic State 'destroys ancient statues in Iraq'

How further can this go? How will the future generations face the destruction of such important historic art? Who will they blame?


There has been strong condemnation of the destruction of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq.
Officials say Islamic State fighters have demolished, looted and bulldozed the city, which dates back to the 13th Century BC.
Jihadi militants have previously released videos of themselves destroying artefacts and statues of great archaeological importance in the city of Mosul.
 
Ancient statue of a winged bull with a human face at the archaeological site of Nimrud, south of Mosul in northern Iraq, in 2001
IS says ancient shrines and statues are "false idols"
Archaeologists and officials have expressed outrage about the bulldozing of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud by Islamic State militants in Iraq.
IS began demolishing the site, which was founded in the 13th Century BC, on Thursday, according to Iraqi officials.
The head of the UN's cultural agency condemned the "systematic" destruction in Iraq as a "war crime".
IS, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, says shrines and statues are "false idols" that have to be smashed.
"They are erasing our history," said Iraqi archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani.
Iraqi workers clean a statue at an archaeological site in Nimrud, 35km (22 miles) southeast of Mosul, northern Iraq, in 2001
Nimrud (pictured) lies just south-east of Mosul, which IS controls
Assyrian relief
Remarkable bas-reliefs, ivories and sculptures have been discovered in Nimrud
Man walks past two ancient Assyrian winged bull statues at Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad on 1 March 2015
Some Nimrud artefacts have been moved - such as these statues now housed in Baghdad

Map

Nimrud lies on the Tigris river, about 30km (18 miles) south-east of Mosul, which IS controls.
Many of the artefacts found there have been moved to museums in Baghdad and overseas, but many remain on site.
BBC Middle East correspondent Jim Muir says the attempt to destroy Nimrud is already being compared with the Taliban's demolition of theBamiyan Buddha rock sculptures in Afghanistan in 2001.
As well as destroying artefacts, Islamic State also trades in them - and the trade is one of its key sources of revenue.
'Levelled'
IS "assaulted the historic city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy vehicles," the tourism and antiquities ministry said on Thursday.
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.
Nimrud covers a large area, and it is not yet clear whether it has been totally destroyed, our correspondent says.
But a local tribal source told Reuters news agency: "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."
From BBC News

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