Monday, September 7, 2015

ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins - The New York Times

Militants from the Islamic State set off explosions at a temple in the ancient ruins of Palmyra in Syria, activists and government officials said on Sunday, continuing a pattern of destruction that they have visited upon historical sites across the territory they control there and in Iraq.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist and monitoring group based in Britain, said Sunday in a statement that Islamic State fighters detonated “a large quantity of explosives” that they had arranged around the Temple of Baalshamin, one of the most grand and well-preserved structures in the sprawling complex of ruins. A government official told reporters that it was heavily damaged by the blast.

The temple stood “dozens of meters” away from a Roman amphitheater where the Islamic State held a mass execution, killing 25 prisoners, in a video released last month, the activist group said. The entire ancient city of Palmyra is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Maamoun Abdul-Karim, the head of Syria’s Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, confirmed the activists’ account to Reuters, although the two accounts differed on when the temple was destroyed. The Syrian Observatory said the destruction took place last month, while Dr. Abdul-Karim said the militants bombed it on Sunday.

ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins - The New York Times

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