ISLAMIC State extremists at Iraq’s ancient city of Hatra destroyed the archaeological site by smashing sledgehammers into its walls and firing 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 the Islamic State group.
The video 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.
One of the militants, who speaks Arabic with a distinct Gulf accent on the video, declares they destroyed the site because it is “worshipped instead of God.”
The Islamic State group, which holds a third of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in its self-declared caliphate, has been destroying ancient relics they say promote idolatry. Authorities also believe they’ve sold others on the black market to fund their atrocities.
The video’s release comes after the Iraqi government this week claimed victory against the IS group in Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad and Iraq’s second-largest city.
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