MOSUL, Iraq (Kurdistan24) – The Islamic State (IS) turned original artifacts in the Mosul museum into rubble before giving it up to Iraqi forces this week.
A massive fire in the antiquities museum turned rare books and manuscripts to ash while the exhibition halls became piles of rubble.
Two Iraqi archeologists who observed the photos of the ruin confirmed many of the artifacts IS destroyed were original ancient stone statues dating back thousands of years.
Moreover, some Iraqi officials and experts had previously claimed the damaged artifacts were only replicas.
A year after capturing Mosul in 2014, IS released a video in which extremists smashed artifacts in the museum with sledgehammers and power tools.
The insurgents claimed the act was in harmony with Prophet Muhammad’s destruction of idols inside the Kaab’a in Mecca.
“These statues and idols, these artifacts, if God has ordered its removal, they became worthless to us even if they are worth billions of dollars,” the voice narrating in the video said.
The Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi said the total damage to infrastructure and property caused by the insurgents exceeded USD $35 billion.
In October 2016, Kurdish and Iraqi forces started an operation to retake Mosul, the self-proclaimed capital of IS.
The forces have advanced in the western part of the city and operations to liberate the East are ongoing.
Brig. Gen. Abbas al-Jabouri on Monday said an estimated 2,000 IS fighters were left in the city.
“They don’t have a chance,” he said, adding he could “smell victory.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany