Isis destroys monuments with sledgehammers and Kalashnikovs in ancient city of Hatra in Iraq

Monuments – some replicas or restored relics – were smashed to pieces

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The Independent Online

Isis militants armed with sledgehammers and Kalashnikov assault rifles wrecked monuments and statues in the ancient Iraqi city of Hatra.

The sculptures in the Unesco World Heritage site were bludgeoned and shot to pieces last month by members of the group as they deem them to be manifestations of idolatry – which is forbidden in many Abrahamic religions.

However, on closer inspection of the destruction, iron rods could be seen holding together the monuments and the thick plumes of white dust indicate that some of the sculptures are either replicas or damaged originals that were restored.

The video that was released on Friday, was met with shock and condemnation due to vandalism of the 2,000-year-old city.



Isis members are seen to use tools and weapons to hack away at stone and plaster sculptures and firing at them with automatic rifles.

A man balances on a high ladder just to smash down a face decoration on the side of a wall before it falls and crashes into bits, causing dust clouds.

The sculpture as it was being bludgeoned by an Isis member

Another uses his Kalashnikov gun to shoot at smaller face sculptures high up above a doorway.

The video corresponded with Associated Press reporting on the attack and was posted to a militant website frequently used by the group.

One of the militants, who speaks Arabic with a Gulf accent, declares they destroyed the site because it is “worshipped instead of God.”

The white plaster and iron rods show they could be replicas or restored relics

Isis, which holds a third of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in its self-proclaimed caliphate, has destroyed other statues and relics they say violates their interpretation of Islamic law.

Nimrud, a 3000-year-old Unesco World Heritage Site, was also looted and destroyed. The attack was dubbed “a war crime” by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Man using Kalashnikov rifle to shoot at wall decorations

Another video released in February shows militants smashing artifacts in the Mosul Museum – which also had statues and monuments that were replicas or had been restored with plaster. Many of the artifacts in the museum were originally from Hatra.

In January, the group burned hundreds of books from the Mosul library and Mosul University, including many rare manuscripts.