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Friday, March 6, 2015

ISIS Loots Priceless Art And Statues From Ancient Iraqi City Of Nimrud

Ancient Statue Stolen Today By ISIS In Nimrud Iraq

ISIS today continued show that they are a barbaric band of savages hell bent on erasing history in order to paint their own vile picture of Iraq for future generations. According to their own twisted version of Islamic law these statues and art are considered to be Idols which are prohibited according to the ISIS version of sharia law.

But don't let their perceived psychotic righteousness fool you. While ISIS typically claims to destroy said idolatry and typically releases videos showing their barbarism in the act they also sell them to the highest bidder. The large statues such as the winged bull pictured above was seen by local residents as ISIS carefully placed then onto large trucks for safe transport.

UN officials have seen images of destroyed Assyrian symbols including statues with the head of a man, the torso of a lion and wings of an eagle. These symbols were referred to in the Bible and other sacred texts, she said."All of this is an appalling and tragic act of human destruction," she said.

UN officials were studying satellite imagery of the destruction, since it remains too dangerous to approach the site, she said.

These violent Sunni extremists have been campaigning to purge ancient relics they say promote idolatry that violates their interpretation of Islamic law. A video they released last week shows them smashing artifacts in the Mosul museum and in January, the group burned hundreds of books from the Mosul library and Mosul University, including many rare manuscripts. Many fear Hatra, another nearby ancient site could be next.

Iraqi authorities were still trying to assess Friday exactly how badly the ancient site was damaged Thursday.

"The destruction of Nimrud is a big loss to Iraq's history," Qais Mohammed Rasheed, the deputy tourism and antiquities minister, told The Associated Press on Friday. "The loss is irreplaceable."

UNESCO previously warned that the group was selling ancient artifacts on the black market for profit. Rasheed said authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the militants could try to sell these, too.

"Somebody is going to buy these," said Iraq's U.N. Ambassador, Mohamed Alhakim.

Nimrud, also known as Kalhu, was the 9th century B.C., capital of Assyria, an ancient kingdom that swept over much of present-day Iraq and the Levant. The site spans 3.3 square kilometers on the Tigris River, and boasted the remains of temples, palaces and a ziggurat pyramid as well as the huge statues.

Many artifacts from Nimrud were moved to museums in Mosul, Baghdad, London and Paris.
In the 1980s, archaeologists discovered a trove of hundreds of gold items from Nimrud's royal tombs — considered one of the 20th century's most significant archaeological finds. The "treasures of Nimrud" were kept in a basement safe of the Central Bank in Baghdad for years until they were "re-discovered" in 2003, and now most of it is in the Baghdad Museum.

Nimrud was already on the World Monument Fund's list of most endangered sites due to extreme decay and deterioration before it was captured in June as extremists took over nearby Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

Last year, the militants destroyed the mosque believed to be the burial place of the Prophet Younis, or Jonah, as well as the Mosque of the Prophet Jirjis — both 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.

In July, they removed the crosses from Mosul's 1,800-year old Mar Behnam monastery and then stormed it, forcing the monks and priest to flee or face death.

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