The Islamic State group released a video on Thursday showing militants using sledgehammers to smash ancient artifacts in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, describing the relics as idols that must be removed. The destructions are part of a campaign by the IS extremists who have destroyed a number of shrines – including Muslim holy sites – in
order to eliminate what they view as heresy. They are also believed to have sold ancient artifacts on the black market in order to finance their bloody campaign across the region. The five-minute video shows a group of bearded men inside the Mosul Museum using hammers and drills to destroy several large statues, which are then shown chipped and in pieces. The video then shows a black-clad man at a nearby archaeological site inside Mosul, drilling through and destroying a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity that dates back to the 7th century BC. In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, is examining the video. “The destruction of cultural heritage is reprehensible and criminal,” Dujarric said, adding that it robs current and future generations of the history of their past.