The Islamic State group released a video on Thursday showing militants using sledgehammers to smash ancient artifacts in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, describing them as idols that must be removed.
The destructions are part of a campaign by the IS extremists, who have destroyed a number of shrines — including Muslim holy sites — in order to eliminate what they view as heresy. They are also believed to have sold ancient artifacts on the black market in order to finance their bloody campaign across the region.
The five-minute video shows a group of bearded men inside the Mosul Museum using hammers and drills to destroy several large statues, which are then shown chipped and in pieces. The video then shows a black-clad man at a nearby archaeological site inside Mosul, drilling through and destroying a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity that dates back to the 7th century B.C.
The day after Baghdad fell to U.S. troops in April 2003, looters burst into the Iraqi National Museum in the Iraqi capital, making off with scores of priceless artifacts and leaving the floor littered with shattered pottery. The U.S. was widely criticized at the time for failing to protect the site.
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