Ancient Nimrud recaptured from ISIL but heavily damaged
Iraqi forces have retaken the ancient city of Nimrud, but it has been heavily damaged by the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL), AFP reported Tuesday (November 15th).
Statues lie shattered, a reconstructed palace is wrecked and a ziggurat -- once one of the tallest structures left from the ancient world at some 50 metres high -- has been reduced to a fraction of its height.
Iraqi forces announced that Nimrud, which was founded in the 13th century and became the capital of the Assyrian empire, was recaptured on Sunday as part of the massive operation to retake Mosul , the last ISIL-held city in the country.
In April last year, ISIL released a video of its fighters destroying monuments in Nimrud before planting explosives around the site and blowing it up.
In the video, militants with sledgehammers and power tools broke artefacts before rigging the site with large barrels of what appeared to be explosives.
ISIL said it attacked Nimrud as well as other ancient sites, including Syria's Palmyra and Iraq's Hatra , to eliminate idols that are forbidden by its extreme interpretation of Islam.
But that has not stopped ISIL from looting and selling allegedly forbidden artefacts to fund its operations.
UNESCO has condemned the destruction of Nimrud as a war crime.