Islamic State Fighters Raze Ancient Assyrian City

In their continued attempts to destroy some of the greatest archaeological treasures to ever come out of Iraq, Islamic State militants have bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud to the ground.

The city, which sits on the banks of the Tigris river, was reportedly first looted by the Islamic State for whatever invaluable treasures remained. It was then destroyed in order to cover up that they had stolen and then sold the pieces to further fund their terrorist activities. The majority of the priceless artifacts, such as the giant Winged Bulls that now reside in London’s British Museum, as well as gold and precious stones, had been removed years ago by archaeologists excavating the site, but the ruins remained, as did some statues and a castle.

Just last week, Islamic State members plundered and destroyed several 3000-year-old statues, sculptures, and other pieces of art housed in the Nineveh Museum in Mosul, a city just north of Baghdad. Prior to that, more Islamic militants ransacked the Mosul Public Library and burned thousands of rare books. The extremists are claiming the statues, sculptures, and books are “false idols,” and they have made statements that all artifacts pertaining to Iraq’s pre-Islamic heritage are idolatrous and need to be destroyed.

According to BBC News, the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism made a statement concerning the actions of the Islamic State on their Facebook page.

“[Islamic State] assaulted the historic city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy vehicles. [The militants continue to] defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity.”

As the United Nations condemns the Islamic State’s actions as a war crime and “cultural cleansing,” the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism is asking for a meeting with the UN Security Council to discuss the best way to protect Iraq’s cultural heritage from further destruction at the hands of the Islamic radicals.

The city of Nimrud, which was originally called Calah in biblical times and was believed to have been renamed Nimrud in modern times after the mythical hero Nimrod, was built by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser I and was made the capital city of the Assyrian Empire by king Ashurnasirpal II. It was he who built a large palace and multiple temples within the city walls. The palace and temples fell into disrepair in the Dark Ages, and along with many wars and the ravages of time, eventually became the ruins that the Islamic State sought out and succeeded in destroying today.

[Image Credit: BBC]