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IS destroys Arch of Triumph in Syria's Palmyra

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"Islamic State" militants have destroyed another monument in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. The Arch of Triumph is one of the city's most recognizable sites.

Syrian activists say the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) militant group has demolished yet another treasured heritage site in Palmyra.

The destruction of the near 2,000-year-old Arch of Triumph comes after the group destroyed the shrine of Baalshamin and the Temple of Bel, regarded as Palmyra's masterpiece.

The group seized the city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in May. IS has carried out a campaign of destruction against heritage sites in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq. It beheaded Palmyra's 82-year-old former antiquities chief in mid-August.

'Systematic destruction'

"We have received news from the site that the Arch of Triumph was destroyed yesterday [Sunday]. IS booby-trapped it several weeks ago," Maamun Abdulkarim, Syria's head of antiquities, told Agence France-Presse.

"This is a systematic destruction of the city. They want to raze it completely," he said.

The arch sat atop the famed colonnaded streets to the ancient city, which linked the Roman Empire to Persia.

IS has set about destroying pre-Islamic monuments, tombs and statues it considers idolatrous, but experts say it is funding its "caliphate" by selling artifacts on the black market.

Before the Syrian war, around 150,000 tourists visited Palmyra every year.


October 5 2015, 10:08

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