Islamist militants have destroyed a priceless collection of statues and sculptures in northern Iraq, some of them going back to the 7th century B.C.
Lamia al-Gailani, an Iraqi archaeologist and associate fellow at the London-based Institute of Archaeology, said the militants had wreaked untold damage, Reuters reported Friday.
“It’s not only Iraq’s heritage. it’s the whole world’s,” she said.
A video released by the extremists shows men attacking the artifacts with sledgehammers and drills, saying they’re symbols of idolatry.
The smashed articles appeared to come from a museum in Mosul, the northern Iraqi city overrun by jihadists in June, a former employee said.
The militants shoved stone statues off their plinths, shattering them on the floor.
One man applied an electric drill to a large winged bull.
The video also shows a large exhibition room strewn with dismembered statues as Islamic songs play in the background.
“They are priceless, unique. It’s unbelievable. I don’t want to be Iraqi any more,” Al-Gailani said.
She compared the destruction to that of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Afghan Taliban in 2001.
Eleanor Robson, a professor of Ancient Near Eastern History at University College London, said statues from Hatra and Nineveh had been wrecked, although she added some objects shown in the video were modern replicas.
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