UN chief Ban Ki Moon harshly condemned the Islamic State’s campaign to destroy ancient artifacts in areas under its control, labeling it a war crime.
The Islamic State (ISIS) has been going from town to town, wiping out Jewish, Christian and other non-Sunni religious and cultural sites.
“The Secretary-General is outraged by the continuing destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq by ISIL amid reports of the razing of the ancient city of Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the north of the country,” a spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated on Sunday.
“The Secretary-General urgently calls on the international community to swiftly put a stop to such heinous terrorist activity and to counter the illicit traffic in cultural artifacts, as demanded by Security Council resolutions,” the statement continued.
Ban reiterated that the deliberate destruction of artifacts constitutes a “war crime” and that the perpetrators must be “held to account.”
The UN chief also spoke with Iraq’s Tourism and Antiquities minister, Adel Fahad al-Shershab, and called upon the US-led coalition to protect archaeological sites from the Muslim terrorists.
ISIS terrorists have been waging a focused campaign to obliterate any artifacts and landmarks that do not fall in line with their extreme Islamic ideology.
They reportedly bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, smashed rare archaeological artifacts in the Mosul museum and have now reportedly set their sights on the 2,200-year old city of Hatra.
Earlier the same week, ISIS torched the historic central library in Mosul, which it had recently overrun, destroying some 8,000 irreplaceable and rare books.
Concentrated Effort to Erase Anything Non-Sunni
ISIS openly boasted about its exploits in the second edition of its Dabiq magazine, which features a photo report of the various mosques, shrines and religious heritage sites they destroyed throughout Iraq and Syria. ISIS’s drive to obliterate any non-Sunni heritage and culture in the region is blatantly declared, and the terror group has vowed to continue this destruction throughout the Christian world.
Responding to ISIS’ latest acts of destruction, Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, condemned “the systematic destruction of heritage and the persecution of minorities that seeks to wipe out the cultural diversity that is the soul of the Iraqi people.”
The organization describes the rampage as “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.”
UNESCO had previously warned that such acts of violence would be committed by ISIS and had called for action.
By: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel
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