The Islamic State (IS) group on Thursday deployed heavy vehicles and bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in northern Iraq, the Iraqi government said.
In a statement on its official Facebook page, Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the militant group had “assaulted the historic city of Nimrud and bulldozed it,” but did not elaborate on the extent of the damage.
An Iraqi antiquities official confirmed the news, saying the destruction began after noon prayers and that trucks that may have been used to haul away artefacts had also been spotted at the site.
On Friday, UNESCO condemned the city’s ruin as a “war crime”.
Nimrud, which was founded in the 13th century BC, lies on the Tigris around 30 kilometres southeast of Mosul, Iraq’s second city and the main hub of the IS group in the country.
The destruction at Nimrud, one of the jewels of the Assyrian era, came a week after the jihadist group released a video showing militants armed with sledgehammers and jackhammers smashing priceless ancient artefacts at the Mosul museum.
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