A video has been released by the Islamic State that appears to show the group destroying statues inside Iraq. The men in the video could be seen using sledgehammers to smash the statues and drills to make holes through others in what looked to be a Mosul museum.
There are also statutes seen being destroyed at Nergal Gate an archaeological site in Iraq.
UNESCO the world heritage body called for a meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations to discuss ways to protect the cultural heritage of Iraq. UNESCO in a prepared statement, read by Irina Bokova, its head, said this involves a security issue since it sparks sectarianism, conflict and violent extremism in Iraq.
In the IS released video men dressed in black pushed statues over, smashed them with hammers and used drills to destroy the rubble.
One man could be seen drilling through and then pulling apart an Assyrian protective deity that is thought to date back as far as the 9th century BC.
One of militants in the video says the artifacts were false idols and is seeking to justify the destruction of them in religious terms.
The artifacts, said analysts are priceless and unique although there are also copies of certain items that the museum has.
One professor in Iraq saw the act of destruction as a huge loss and unbelievable act of cultural terrorism.
Another professor said he was completely shocked by the destruction calling it a catastrophe that makes it impossible to be proud of the civilization of Mosul.
The Islamic State has been in control of Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city, since June of 2014. The military from the U.S. have said an assault on that city could be within a month.
The region that the Islamic State controls inside Iraq has close to 1,800 of the 12,000 Iraq archaeological sites. The reported destroying of the statutes comes after a recent report that the group burned down the library in Mosul, which had more than 8,000 ancient manuscripts.