The Islamic State militant group has looted and bulldozed the world famous archaeological site Nimrud in the northern region of Iraq in an act that on Friday was described as a war crime by the cultural agency of the United Nations.
Destruction at the over 3,000 year old site, which is considered one of the most important uncovered archaeological sites of the past century, marked another blow to the renowned culture heritage of pre Islamic.
Late on Thursday, a statement from the Minister of Antiquities and Tourism of Iraq said Islamic State continued to the world’s will and the feelings of humanity with its latest attack, where military vehicles were used to crush relics from one of the greatest Mesopotamia cities.
UNESCO head Irina Bokova in Paris said that ravaging Nimrud equated to a war crime and she had notified the International Criminal Court prosecutor.
UNESCO considers Nimrud a world heritage site and many of its prized artifacts were moved to various museums many years ago.
Nimrud, the second capital of Assyria the ancient kingdom, was built around 1250 B.C. and then destroyed during 612 B.C. At its peak, it became the center of a very powerful state that reaches through to modern day Iran, Egypt and Turkey.
Nimrud is a few minutes south of Mosul the largest Iraqi city to the north, which was captured last June by militants from the IS.
The Iraqi military helped by militia has launched an attempt at reclaiming Tikrit only 120 miles to the south of Mosul. The offensive is part of a push north into areas that the Islamic State is in control of.
A video released last week showed militants from IS destroying statues and other ancient relics a museum in Mosul. The attack in Mosul was described by the UN as a war crime.
In London, art collectors have reported seeing items that were looted from areas controlled by the Islamic State appearing in the capital of the UK.
Discoveries at the Nimrud site have been described as amongst the most significant finds in archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia.