ISIS releases video of militants bulldozing ancient Assyrian site in Iraq

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This screenshot of video released by ISIS purports to show a militant taking a sledgehammer a wall in the ancient city of Nimrud near Mosul, Iraq.
A new video released by the Islamic State (ISIS), reveals how much damage the extremist group inflicted at Nimrud, an ancient archaeological site in Iraq.
Nimrud, which dates back to 13th century BCE, was damaged by militants in early March, according to Iraqi officials. Posted to YouTube over the weekend, the footage shows ISIS members bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city.

SEE ALSO: The ISIS campaign to erase history

Throughout the seven-minute-long video, militants are seen smashing the facades of walls at the site, and using bulldozers and jack hammers to destroy reliefs. While the original footage has since been removed, an edited version of the clip can be seen below.

Nimrud, the ruins of an ancient city located on the banks of the Tigris River 18 miles southeast of Mosul, is one of the world’s most important Assyrian archaeological sites. Since the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, however, it has fallen victim to looting and damage.

In early March, Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiques issued a statement about Nimrud, saying militants had “bulldozed” the site. It did not elaborate on the extent of the damage, however, saying only that ISIS continues to “defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity” with this latest act.

In another statement posted to its website, the ministry called on the United Nations Security Council to intervene.

“Iraq represents the first line of defense against this attack and the need to put an end to this tragic situation,” the statement read. “Stand with us against the enemies of civilization and humanity.”

Some artifacts from Nimrud are currently housed in several museums around the world, although others remain in the city’s ruins.

The video is just the latest evidence of ISIS’ rampage throughout the region. Last week, ISIS posted a video showing similar actions in Hatra; the UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back more than 2,000 years, was damaged by militants wielding axes and hammers. At one point, men can be seen knocking stone faces off the wall using sledgehammers.

The destruction prompted UNESCO to implore the international community to help safeguard the sites.

ISIS appears to be following the example of other militant Islamist groups such as the Taliban, which blew up the world’s two largest standing Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001.

The contested area of Syria and Iraq where ISIS has seized power is known as the cradle of civilization because it is home to many firsts in human history, including the invention of writing, math and the wheel. Now, the group seems to be targeting that cultural heritage with its campaign to destroy historically significant sites across the region.