Lion of Babylon Statue Bombed, Destroyed

Eighty-Year-Old Basra Landmark Blown Up by Gunmen This Morning
07/29/2007 07:57 AM ET

Basra, Jul 29, (VOI) – Unidentified gunmen blew up the Lion of Babylon statue in central Basra during the early hours of Sunday, eyewitnesses said.

“An explosive charge was planted under the statue, completely destroying it the historical monument in Basra,” an eyewitness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

The statue, one of the historical landmarks in Basra, 590 km south of Baghdad, was built in the 1920s and symbolized the Babylonian civilization.

The Lion of Babylon, large and splendidly carved in basalt, is reminiscent of the legend that the lion was the symbol of the goddess Ishtar, the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of love, fertility, and war. In the sculpture, the lion’s back has marks indicating that it was meant for a precious saddle upon which the goddess Ishtar would stand.