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The Islamic State group are destroying the site of an ancient city

The group are said to be ‘bulldozing’ the ancient city of Nimrud.

(File photo of pro-Islamic state group protesters)
(File photo of pro-Islamic state group protesters)
Image: AP/Press Association Images

ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS “bulldozed” the renowned archaeological site of the ancient city of Nimrud in northern Iraq yesterday using heavy military vehicles, the government said.

A statement from Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities didn’t elaborate on the extent of the damage, saying only that the group continues to “defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity” with this latest act, which came after an attack on the Mosul museum just days earlier.

The destruction of the site of one of ancient Mesopotamia’s greatest cities recalled the Taliban’s annihilation of large Buddha statues in Afghanistan more than 12 years ago, experts said.

Nimrud was the second capital of Assyria, an ancient kingdom that began in about 900 B.C., partially in present-day Iraq, and became a great regional power. The city, which was destroyed in 612 B.C., is located on the Tigris River just south of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, which was captured by the Islamic State group in June.

‘King Tut’s tomb’ 

The Islamic State extremists, who control a third of Iraq and Syria, have attacked other archaeological and religious sites, claiming that they promote apostasy. Earlier this week, a video emerged on militant websites showing Islamic State militants with sledgehammers destroying ancient artifacts at the Mosul museum, sparking global outrage.

Suzanne Bott, the heritage conservation project director for Iraq and Afghanistan in the University of Arizona’s College of Architecture, Planning and Archaeology, worked at Nimrud on and off for two years between 2008 and 2010. She helped stabilise structures and survey Nimrud for the U.S. State Department as part of a joint U.S. military and civilian unit.

“It’s really called the cradle of Western civilisation, that’s why this particular loss is so devastating,” Bott said. “What was left on site was stunning in the information it was able to convey about ancient life.

“People have compared it to King Tut’s tomb,” she said.

Destroying objects

Jack Green, chief curator of the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago and expert on Iraqi art, said Thursday that the IS group seems bent on destroying objects they view as idols representing religions and cultures that don’t conform to their beliefs.

“It’s the deliberate destruction of a heritage and its images, intended to erase history and the identity of the people of Iraq, whether in the past or the present,” Green said. “And it has a major impact on the heritage of the region.”

Green noted that in many of these attacks on art, pieces that can be carried away are then sold to fund the IS group, while the larger artifacts and sculptures are destroyed at the site.

Read: Iraqi troops are throwing everything they’ve got at Islamic State

Also: Mother of ‘Jihadi John’ says she recognised son’s voice in hostage videos

http://www.thejournal.ie/friday-8-week-top-stories-know-around-1976236-Mar2015/?utm_source=twitter_self

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Associated Press

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