ISIL destroys 2,000-year-old city of Hatra

It comes after the extremists smashed up priceless statues in a museum in Mosul before bulldozing the archeological city of Nimrud.

This photo taken on July 27, 2005 shows two temples still standing more than 1,750 years after the Sassanian empire razed the Mesopotamian city of Hatra, 320 kilometers north of Baghdad, Iraq. Antonio Castaneda, File/AP Photo
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BAGHDAD // ISIL militants have destroyed ancient remains of the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra in northern Iraq, the tourism and antiquities ministry said on Saturday.

An official said the ministry had received reports from its employees in the northern city of Mosul, which is under the control of ISIL, that the site at Hatra had been demolished that same day.

The official said it was difficult to confirm the reports and that the ministry had not received any pictures showing the extent of the damage.

But a resident in the area said he heard a powerful explosion early on Saturday and that other people nearby had reported that ISIL militants had destroyed some of the larger buildings in Hatra – which lies about 110 kilometres south of Mosul – and were bulldozing other parts.

ISIL has been carrying out a campaign of what Unesco says is “cultural cleansing”, first releasing a video showing its fighters smashing priceless statues in a museum in Mosul, and then bulldozing the archaeological city of Nimrud, just south of Mosul, on Thursday.

* Reuters