Satellite images show ancient Iraq temple destroyed

Satellite images confirm the destruction of the ancient Nabu temple in Iraq, the UN said after the Islamic State group claimed to have blown it up.

Published: 09th June 2016 02:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2016 02:38 AM   |  A+A-


GENEVA: Satellite images confirm the destruction of the ancient Nabu temple in Iraq, the UN said late today, after the Islamic State group claimed to have blown it up.

The UN training and research agency UNITAR said it had analysed satellite images collected on June 3 over the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in northern Iraq.

"Compared to imagery collected 12 January 2016, we observe extensive damage to the main entrance of what is known as Nabu Temple," the agency said, providing the two sets of satellite images.

In its latest attack on a historic site under its control, IS released a video this week claiming to have blown up the 2,800-year-old temple, devoted to the Babylonian god of wisdom.

The video showed shots of an information sign at the temple followed by a massive explosion. One of the jihadists in the film also threatened to blow up the Egyptian pyramids and the Sphinx.

Nimrud, one of the jewels of the Assyrian era, was founded in the 13th century BC and lies on the Tigris River around 30 kilometres southeast of Mosul, Iraq's second city and the IS group's main hub in the country.

UNITAR said Nimrud was "included in Iraq's Tentative List of sites which are likely to be nominated for inscription on UNESCO's World Heritage List".

It remained unclear when the ancient temple had been destroyed.

The IS footage also showed bulldozers destroying the Mashki and Nergal gates at Nineveh, near Mosul.

But Christopher Jones, an expert on Neo-Assyrian Empire who runs an archeology blog, pointed out that the jihadist group had already previously released a photo essay showing the destruction of the Mashki gate, which he said had been bulldozed on April 10.

As for the Nergal gate, he said IS fighters had already chisled the face off an imposing granite Assyrian winged bull representing a lamassu, or an Assyrian protective deity, flanking the gate back in February.

"This suggests that ISIS has gone back to re-destroy artifacts that it already destroyed once, in order to get footage for new videos," he wrote on his blog today.

In the IS jihadists' extreme interpretation of Islam, statues, idols and shrines amount to recognising objects of worship other than God and must be destroyed.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp