Jihadists May Have Wrecked an Ancient Iraqi Site

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tags: Iraq, ISIS



Iraqi officials said Saturday that they were investigating reports that Islamic State militants had destroyed Hatra, an archaeological site dating to the first century B.C., two days after officials confirmed that the group had bulldozed another nearby site, the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.

Officials have been unable to review visual evidence, Qais Hussein Rashid, the deputy minister for tourism and antiquities, said in a telephone interview, because their local contacts have not had Internet access for several days. But, he said, “our local sources confirmed it to us.”

Iraqis living nearby and across the country lamented the wholesale destruction of their heritage, with Kurdish and Shiite militias and army troops on the ground, and an international coalition bombing from the air, apparently unable to stop it.

“We are in despair with the government,” Ali al-Nashmi, a professor of history at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, said in a telephone interview. He was nearly in tears after hearing the reports about Hatra, which he said had been rare in Iraq for its classical ruins. “We are losing the country.”




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