On the heels of destroying the ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud in Iraq, ISIS militants have now also destroyed the 2,000 year old city of Hatra, also located in Iraq.
An official with the ministry of tourism and antiquities' archaeological division in Mosul told The Associated Press that multiple residents living near Hatra heard two large explosions Saturday morning, then reported seeing bulldozers begin demolishing the site. He spoke anonymously for fear of reprisal.
Saeed Mamuzini, a Kurdish official from Mosul, told the AP that the militants had begun carrying away artifacts from Hatra as early as Thursday and on Saturday, began to destroy the 2,000-year-old city.
Hatra - one of the few remaining sites of the Seleucid Empire - has long been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. According to reports, ISIS came with bulldozers in order to completely destroy the ancient city. Many of Hatra's smaller relics were held at the Mosul Museum. The museum was destroyed in January when ISIS ransacked the museum.
The destruction of the ancient city is part and parcel of ISIS's attempt to eliminate ancient relics "that violates their fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law." UNESCO called the earlier destruction of Nimrud a "war crime," that amounted to "cultural cleansing," and called on local leaders to "stand up and remind everyone that there is absolutely no political or religious justification for the destruction of humanity's cultural heritage."
Tweet from ISIS supporter via The Guardian.