Hatra, Iraq’s Ancient City Destroyed by Islamic State

The extremist militant group Islamic State has destroyed the archaeological site in Hatra the ancient city in Iraq by smashing its walls with sledgehammers and shooting assault rifles at statues, a new video from the militant group shows.

Militants from the group attacked Hatra, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, in March, said officials and residents that lived nearby. Though what the full extent of the damage is remains unknown, as it is part of territory the militant groups still controls, some say the damage is extensive.

The video, which was released overnight on Friday, shows one militant standing on a ladder swinging a sledgehammer to hit repeatedly a statue until it breaks into countless pieces.

In addition, the video shows another militant using his Kalashnikov rifle to fire at statues, while men bang away at the bases of certain large wall sculptures.

The video backs up the report done by the AP on the attack that was posted to a militant website that the group frequently uses.

One militant, who is speaking Arabic with a Gulf accent, declares that they had destroyed the site since it was worshipped rather than God.

The IS, which is in control of a third of Syria and Iraq where it has declared its caliphate, has destroyed other relics that they said promote idolatry which violates their interpretation of Islamic law.

It is also believed by authorities that the militants have sold other relics on the black market as a well to fund their ongoing atrocities.

Local officials in the government said last month that the group looted as well as destroyed many ancient sites, including Nimrud, which was 3,000 years old and another UNESCO World Heritage site.

Another video that had been released two months ago showed militants smashing relics inside Mosul Museum, while in January the group was videoed burning books from Mosul University and Mosul Library, many of the items burned were rare manuscripts.

Most of the artifacts destroyed inside the Mosul Museum had been from Hatra.

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