Islamic State thugs have destroyed a collection of priceless statues and sculptures in Iraq dating back thousands of years.
Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artwork as they rampaged through a museum in the northern city of Mosul.
Video footage shows a group of bearded men in the Nineveh Museum using tools to wreck 3,000-year-old statues after pushing them over.
One of the items, depicting a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity, dates back to the 9th century B.C.
A man shown in the video said the items were being destroyed because they promoted idolatry.
‘The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,’ the unidentified man said.
The articles destroyed appeared to come from an antiquities museum in the northern city of Mosul, which was overrun by Islamic State last June, a former employee at the museum told Reuters.
The extremist group has destroyed a number of shrines–including Muslim holy sites–in a bid to eliminate what it views as heresy.
Militants are also believed to have sold ancient artwork on the black market in order to finance their bloody campaign across the region.
The video bore the logo of the ISIS group’s media arm and was posted on a Twitter account used by the group.
Yesterday it was revealed how terrorists had blown up the Mosul Public Library, sending 10,000 books and more than 700 rare manuscripts up in flames.
Leading members of Mosul society reportedly tried to stop the fanatics destroying the building, but failed.
The director of the library, Ghanim al-Ta’an, said that the extremists used homemade bombs in the attack, which took place on Sunday.
He told Middle Eastern website Geran: ‘ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library. They used improvised explosive devices.’
Presumed destroyed are the Central Library’s collection of Iraqi newspapers dating to the early 20th century, maps and books from the Ottoman Empire and book collections contributed by around 100 of Mosul’s establishment families.
Isis first invaded the Central Library in January. Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books–including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science–into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.
‘These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned,’ a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to The Associated Press.
The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation, said the Islamic State group official made his impromptu address as others stuffed books into empty flour bags.
Since the Islamic State group seized a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria, they have sought to purge society of everything that doesn’t conform to their violent interpretation of Islam.
They have already destroyed many archaeological relics, deeming them pagan, and even Islamic sites considered idolatrous. Increasingly books are in the firing line.
Mosul, the biggest city in the Islamic State group’s self-declared caliphate, boasts a relatively educated, diverse population that seeks to preserve its heritage sites and libraries.
In the chaos that followed the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein, residents near the Central Library hid some of its centuries-old manuscripts in their own homes to prevent their theft or destruction by looters.
But this time, the Islamic State group has made the penalty for such actions death.
A University of Mosul history professor, who spoke on condition he not be named because of his fear of the Islamic State group, said the extremists started wrecking the collections of other public libraries in December.
He reported particularly heavy damage to the archives of a Sunni Muslim library, the library of the 265-year-old Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers and the Mosul Museum Library with works dating back to 5000 BC.