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‘Destruction of Hatra a turning point in Iraq’s cultural cleansing’

Site was the capital of the first Arab kingdom, bearing the roots of Islamic Arab cities

Image Credit: AFP
An Iraqi Shiite fighter speaks to a Sunni woman sitting outside her home in the village of Albu Ajil, east of the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit as members of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation units, supporting the government forces in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) group, take part in a military operation to regain control of the Tikrit area.
Gulf News

Paris: The destruction of the Hatra Unesco World Heritage Site by Daesh has been described as a “turning point in the strategic cleansing of cultural history of Iraq” by the heads of cultural institutions, a statement said on Monday.

Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Isesco), along with Unesco, condemned Daesh’s brutal act of vandalising cultural heritage of Iraq by destroying and bulldozing several heritage sites.

In a joint statement the directors of both these institutions said: “This is a direct attack against the history of Islamic Arab cities and it confirms the role of destruction of heritage in the propaganda of extremists groups.”

“The destruction of Hatra marks a turning point in the appalling strategy of cultural cleansing underway in Iraq,” said Irina Bokova, director-general of Unesco and Isesco’s director-general, Abdul Aziz Othman Al Tuwaijri in a statement.

Daesh in recent weeks has been attacking ancient heritage sites in Iraq. First it destructed artefacts at the Mosul Museum and then bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.

According to the statement, Hatra, a large fortified city under the influence of the Parthian Empire, was the capital of the first Arab kingdom, bearing the roots of Islamic Arab cities.

“This latest act of barbarism against Hatra shows the contempt in which it [Daesh] holds the history and heritage of Arab people,” said Bokova.