Palmyra: The Islamic State destroys the temple of Baal

Palmyra: The Islamic State destroys the temple of Baal

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The head of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums of Syria, Maamun Abdulkarim, has communicated that The militants of the Islamic State planted various explosive charges in the temple of Baal yesterday, in the Greco-Roman city of Palmyra in Syria, and blew them up, however, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed that the destruction took place a month ago.

"[The jihadists] placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal today [referring to this Sunday] and blew them up, causing serious damage to the temple," Abdulkarim told AFP news agency. “The cella (inner part of the temple) has also been destroyed and the surrounding columns have collapsed,” Abdulkarim explained.

Some former residents who have fled the city explained to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the jihadists planted explosives in the temple a month ago.

The city was taken over by Islamic State guerrillas last May and this would be the first attack against these ruins of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra. “We have said repeatedly that the next phase will be to terrorize the people and, when they have time, destroy the temples. I am watching Palmira being destroyed before my eyes. May God help us in the days to come, ”said Abdulkarim.

The terrorist group has started excavations to find gold and other valuables in the city. The brutality of the Islamic State led to the beheading of Palmyra's chief archaeologist Khaled Asaad a week ago. after being detained for a month and being interrogated to find out where valuable pieces could be found in the city. Asaad refused to give in to the demands of the jihadists and that was what cost him his life.

Syrian authorities have been moving hundreds of statues to safe locations for fear that they would be destroyed by the guerrillas, who reject the representation of any human figure.

Previously, the Islamic State had already destroyed two old mosques in the city for, in his own words, embrace pagan and sacrilegious practices.

Video: Islamic State Destroys Ancient Palmyra Arch