ISIS Militants Storm Museum and Smash 3,000 Year Old Assyrian Sculptures on Video

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ISIS militants have destroyed Assyrian sculptures at the Nineveh Museum in Mosul, Iraq, using hammers, power tools, and pickaxes, and posted video of the destruction online. This is only the latest act in an ongoing campaign of obliteration of the region’s cultural heritage (see 8,000 Books Burned By ISIS in Massive Libricide and Syria’s Cultural Artifacts Are Blood Diamonds for ISIS.)

In the videos, ISIS fighters pull the artworks to the ground and then reduce the 3,000-year old-statues to rubble.

Militants are seen climbing on ladders and deploying hammers and drills to destroy all the museum’s sculptures, including, according to the International Business Times, “a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity dating back to the 7th century BC. ” As in the past, ISIS has heavily promoted the videos on their social media accounts.

An unidentified ISIS member tells the camera: “These ruins that are behind me, they are idols and statues that people in the past used to worship instead of Allah.” An immense, partially demolished winged bull lies in the background.


Amir al-Jumaili, a professor at the Archaeology College in Mosul, confirmed to the Associated Press that the two sites shown in the video are the city museum and a site known as Nirgal Gate.  “I’m totally shocked,” he said. It’s a catastrophe. With the destruction of these artifacts, we can no longer be proud of Mosul’s civilization.”

The video is dated February 2015 and was posted on a Twitter account used by ISIS.