ISIS Destroys 2500-Year-Old Temple, Threatens to Destroy Egyptian Pyramids

June 9, 2016 Updated: October 5, 2018

The Islamic State terrorist group released a video on June 7 showing an explosion of the ancient temple of Nabu in Nimrud, south of Mosul, Iraq.

At the end, the 9-minute video shows a picture of the Egyptian pyramids in Giza. A man dressed in black then proclaims destruction to “ancient sites built by the infidels,” Daily Mail reported.

The video above shows only some footage from the ISIS propaganda video.

ISIS faces multiple military setbacks in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

U.S.-backed fighters in Syria converged from three sides on an Islamic State stronghold near the Turkish border on June 9, while Iraqi special forces pushed deeper into Fallujah, one of the last bastions of the militant group in western Iraq.

In Libya, IS militants were fleeing their stronghold of Sirte as forces loyal to a U.N.-brokered government advanced.

It is not clear when the Nabu temple was destroyed, but some of the ancient cultural sites in Nimrud were ruined by ISIS using bulldozers and explosives last year, according to BBC.

ISIS also sparked widespread condemnation last year for destroying many cultural relics at the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.

There are two reasons why ISIS uses destruction of cultural relics in propaganda, according to Michael Danti, professor of archaeology at Boston University and co-director of the Syrian Heritage Initiative (SHI) at the American Schools of Oriental Research.

One is to influence the local population. 

“They use it to tell the local population, ‘Well, they’re reacting to the destruction of these ancient idols, but do they really care about you, or your local mosque or these other issues that are affecting your life right now?” he said.

Most of the cultural sites ISIS destroys are actually Muslim, Danti told National Geographic last year.

ISIS first targets cultural sites of other Muslim sects, like Shia and Sufi. “After that they target pre-Islamic heritage,” Danti said.

The other reason is distraction, and to keep up morale. 

Last year, a video of destruction in Nimrud coincided with ISIS defeat at Tikrit. ISIS has now suffered setbacks on several fronts in the region where it captured large swaths of territory two years ago, including the loss of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra earlier this year.

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