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 » Life Style » World News » 

Islamic state 'demolish' ancient Hatra site in Iraq

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Islamic state 'demolish' ancient Hatra site in Iraq
Source: BBC | posted by MD

Islamic State militants have destroyed ruins at the ancient city of Hatra, Iraqi officials say.

A tourism and antiquities ministry official said the extent of the damage at the Unesco world heritage site was unclear, but they had received reports that it had been demolished.

Hatra was founded in the days of the Parthian Empire over 2,000 years ago.

Militants have recently bulldozed ruins at the Assyrian city of Nimrud and destroyed museum artefacts in Mosul.

IS, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, says shrines and statues are "false idols" that have to be smashed.

Hatra, located about 110km (68 miles) south-west of Mosul, was a fortified city that withstood invasions by the Romans thanks to its thick walls reinforced by towers.

Said Mamuzini, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) local official, said the militants had used explosives to blow up buildings and were bulldozing other sections.

"The city of Hatra is very big and many artefacts of that era were protected inside the site," he said, adding that the militants had already taken away gold and silver.

One official told the Associated Press that residents in the area had heard two powerful explosions.

'War crime'

In a statement, the tourism and antiquities ministry blamed the international community for failing to help Iraq protect its ancient monuments.

It added: "The delay in international support for Iraq has encouraged terrorists to commit another crime of stealing and demolishing the remains of the city of Hatra."

The remains of Hatra blend Hellenistic, Roman and Eastern architectural influences

Reports of the bulldozer attack in Nimrud, an Assyrian city founded in the 13th Century BC, emerged on Thursday.

On Friday Unesco head Irina Bokova condemned the "cultural cleansing" in Iraq as a "war crime".

"There is absolutely no political or religious justification for the destruction of humanity's cultural heritage."

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