Saturday, March 7, 2015

ISIL/ISIS fighters destroy another world heritage Iraqi site

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have bulldozed the ancient city of Hatra, Iraqi officials say.

In a statement posted on its website on Saturday, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities quoted media outlets about the "looting and destruction of the ruins of the anciety city of Hatra."

Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, who is reporting from Baghdad, said ISIL fighters used bulldozers to go into the site.

"It's an absolutely devastating attack," she said. "These are the remnants of the world's civilisation. ISIL has made clear that it is going to demolish whatever it can, that does not correspond to its view of the world."
The world heritage site also known as Al-Hadr, is near Mosul, and is the third ancient site destroyed by ISIL in recent weeks.

Built around the 3rd or the 2nd century BC, the ancient city withstood invasions by the Romans because of its thick walls reinforced by towers.

The site was also made famous in the Hollywood horror film, The Exorcist.

Last Thursday, ISIL fighters also bulldozed the 3,000-year-old Assyrian city of Nimrud.

In February, the same armed group also destroyed 7th century stone statues from Nineveh inside a museum in Mosul.

Unlike the Assyrian heritage sites in Nineveh and Nimrud, the ruins of Hatra feature a combination of Graeco-Roman and eastern influences, our correspondent said. 

Iraqi forces advance

The news about the destruction in Hatra came as Iraqi government troops and allied tribal fighters advanced into ISIL territories elsewhere..

On Saturday, US military announced that Iraqi forces retook the town of Al-Baghdadi, seizing both the police station and three Euphrates River bridges.

Security forces and tribal fighters from the Anbar region were reportedly involved in the operation, but US ground forces were not directly employed in the battle, the statement said.

"The coalition supported the operation with surveillance assets and advise and assist teams" attached to Iraqi headquarters units, it said.

Since February 22, the US-led coalition, which is conducting air strikes in Iraq and Syria against ISIL targets, said it had ordered 26 air strikes around the town.

ISIL took control of Al-Baghdadi in February, posing a threat to the nearby Ayn al-Asad air base where US forces train their Iraqi counterparts.

  Source: Al Jazeera



  1. ISIL Not the Only Ones Who Damage Iraqi Heritage Sites, US Did it Too...

    A former US Foreign Service employee reveals the scale of the destruction of ancient artifacts in Iraq during the occupation of the country.

    As Iraqi officials are estimating the extent of the damage done by the Islamic State militants to one of the country's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the ancient city of Hatra, a former US Foreign Service employee, Peter van Buren, has revealed that the US Army also wrought a lot of damage to some of the country’s historical landmarks.

    On Saturday, Islamic State militants started destroying the 2,200-year-old site, having looted all of the ancient gold and silver coins that had been preserved.

    Several days earlier, the Iraqi government said that ISIL fighters had attacked the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in northern Iraq and bulldozed it with trucks.

    But as it turns out, the ISIL fighters are not the only ones who damaged sites in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys.

    A former US Foreign Service employee, Peter van Buren, who was embedded with the US Army in Iraq in 2009, has revealed that the US also contributed to the destruction of ancient places.............

  2. ISIL shot, hammered away Iraq’s ancient Hatra...

    Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants at Iraq’s ancient city of Hatra destroyed the archaeological site by smashing sledgehammers into its walls and shooting Kalashnikov assault rifles at priceless statues, a new militant video purportedly from the group shows.

    Militants attacked Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, last month, officials and local residents said, though the extent of the damage remains unclear as it is in territory still controlled by ISIL.

    The video, released overnight April 3, shows a militant on a ladder using a sledgehammer to bang repeatedly on the back of one of the carved faces until it crashes to the ground and breaks into pieces. The video also shows a militant firing a Kalashnikov rifle at another, while men chop away the bases of some of the larger wall sculptures.

    The video corresponded with Associated Press reporting on the attack and was posted to a militant website frequently used by the group.................


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