ISIL began bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq on Thursday, the government said, in the militants’ latest attack on the country’s historical heritage.
ISIL “assaulted the historic city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy vehicles,” the tourism and antiquities ministry said on an official Facebook page.
An Iraqi antiquities official confirmed the news, saying the destruction began after noon prayers on Thursday and that trucks that may have been used to haul away artifacts had also been spotted at the site.
“Until now, we do not know to what extent it was destroyed,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Nimrud, which was founded in the 13th century BC, lies on the Tigris around 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of Mosul, Iraq’s second city and the main hub of ISIL in the country.
The destruction at Nimrud, one of the jewels of the Assyrian era, came a week after the ‘jihadist’ group released a video showing militants armed with sledgehammers and jackhammers smashing priceless ancient artifacts at the Mosul museum.