ISIS destroys rare books and leaves Mosul museum in ruins
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The antiquities museum in the Iraqi city of Mosul is in ruins. Piles of rubble fill exhibition halls and a massive fire in the building’s basement has reduced hundreds of rare books and manuscripts to ankle-deep drifts of ash.
Associated Press reporters were granted rare access to the museum on Wednesday after Iraqi forces retook it from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the day before.
Brig. Gen. Abbas al-Jabouri can smell victory against ISIS, CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports. On Monday, he estimated there were only around 2,000 ISIS fighters left in the city.
“They don’t have a chance,” he told Williams.
After examining AP photographs of the destruction, two Iraqi archeologists confirmed that many of the artifacts destroyed by ISIS were the original ancient stone statues dating back thousands of years, rather than replicas as some Iraqi officials and experts previously claimed.
ISIS captured Mosul in 2014 and released a video the following year showing fighters smashing artifacts in the museum with sledgehammers and power tools. The voice narrating the ISIS video justified the acts with verses from the Quran referencing the Prophet Muhammad’s destruction of idols in the Kaaba.
“These statues and idols, these artifacts, if God has ordered its removal, they became worthless to us even if they are worth billions of dollars,” the narration said.
Source: /CBS News