Isil militants continue destruction of historic sites
Published 13/04/2015 | 02:30
Isil militants bulldozed and blew up parts of the ancient Iraqi Assyrian city of Nimrud, destroying a site dating back to the 13th century BC, in the latest example of archaeological vandalism.
The destruction at Nimrud came amid other attacks on antiquity carried out by the group now holding a third of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in its self-declared caliphate. The attacks have horrified archaeologists and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who last month called the destruction at Nimrud "a war crime".
A seven-minute video, posted at the weekend, shows bearded militants using sledgehammers, jackhammers and saws to take down huge alabaster reliefs depicting Assyrian kings and deities. A bulldozer brings down walls, while militants fill barrels with explosives and later destroy three separate areas of the site in massive explosions.
"God has honoured us in the Islamic State to remove all of these idols and statutes worshipped instead of Allah in the past days," one militant says in the video.
The militants have been destroying ancient relics they say promote idolatry that violate their fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law, including the ancient Iraqi city of Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site.