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Islamic State militants ransacked Mosul’s central museum, destroying priceless artefacts that are thousands of years old, in the group’s latest rampage which threatens to upend millennia of coexistence in the Middle East. The destruction of statues and artefacts that date from the Assyrian and Akkadian empires, revealed in a video published by Isis on Thursday, drew ire from the international community and condemnation by activists and minorities that have been attacked by the group.
“The birthplace of human civilisation … is being destroyed”, said Kino Gabriel, one of the leaders of the Syriac Military Council – a Christian militia – in a telephone interview with the Guardian from Hassakeh in north-eastern Syria. The destruction took place in Mosul, the Iraqi city that has been under the control of Isis since June when jihadi fighters advanced rapidly across the country’s north. “In front of something like this, we are speechless,” said Gabriel. “Murder of people and destruction is not enough, so even our civilisation and the culture of our people is being destroyed.”