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ISIS bulldozes ancient Iraqi site

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Islamic State fighters “bulldozed” the renowned archaeological site of the ancient city of Nimrud in northern Iraq on Thursday using heavy military vehicles, the government said. Astatement 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 a dozen 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.

The late 1980s discovery of treasures in Nimrud’s royal tombs was one of the 20th century’s most significant archaeological finds. After Iraq was invaded in 2003, archaeologists were relieved when they were found hidden in the country’s central Bank – in a secret vault-inside-a-vault submerged in sewage water.

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  with sledgehammers destroying ancient artifacts at the Mosul museum, sparking global outrage.

Last year, the militants destroyed the Mosque of the Prophet Younis – or Jonah – and the Mosque of the Prophet Jirjis, two revered ancient shrines in Mosul. They also threatened to destroy Mosul’s 850-year old Crooked Minaret, but residents surrounded the structure, preventing the militants from approaching.

Iraq’s national museum in Baghdad opened its doors to the public last week for the first time in 12 years in a move Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said was to defy efforts “to destroy the heritage of mankind and Iraq’s civilization.”

The Islamic State group has imposed a harsh and violent version of Islamic law in the territories it controls and has terrorized religious minorities. It has released gruesome videos online showing the beheading of captives, including captured Western journalists and aid workers.

A U.S.-led coalition has been striking the group since August, and Iraqi forces launched an offensive this week to try to retake the militant-held city of Tikrit, on the main road linking Baghdad to Mosul. 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. SAPA

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  1. Dear ISIL / Daeesh,

    I would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to you for changing the world’s perception of the Muslim ummah across the world.

    Thank you for making us look like one-dimensional twits who are unable to tolerate difference of opinion.

    Thank you for making it that much more difficult to prove to the world that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerence. Your killing and raping of Christians, Yezidis and other Muslims have served its purpose well.

    Thank you for subverting our efforts in trying to raise our kids as good Muslims and citizens by brainwashing them with your false promises of an Islamic utopia.

    Thank you for destroying and selling historical artifacts of our collective human history in order to fund your numerous death campaigns.

    We would like to thank you for a whole lot more, but words elude us right now as we are so traumatised by the atrocities you have committed in the name of Muhammed (pbuh).

    Your victims across the Muslim ummah

  2. We learn nothing. We keep following. So we will always be used as fodder. Firstly, can our own muslim media institutions and journalist stop referring to isis as islamic state or followers of islam. By doing so we accept it as an islamic state or they are followers of islam.

    There is nothing islamic about isis or its members, however if you insist that the word islam is used in referring to isis the correct phrase to use would be ‘the zionist islamic state’ or the islam that isis follow should be referred to as a ‘sect of zionist islam’.

    So be bold and report it right. STOP! using what they want you to use. ‘Be the change you want to see’.

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