Islamists in Iraq start destroying symbols of its history

Members of the Iraqi security forces prepare to fire mortar bombs during clashes with Sunni militant group ISIL in Muqdadiyah in Diyala provinceMilitant Sunni Islamists who seized swathes of northern Iraq last week have destroyed symbols of Iraq’s heritage in the city of Mosul, including statues of cultural icons and the tomb of a medieval philosopher. Witnesses said militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had destroyed a statue of Othman al-Mousuli, a 19th Century Iraqi musician and composer, and the statue of Abu Tammam, an Abbasid-era Arab poet. The tomb of Ibn al-Athir, an Arab philosopher who traveled with the army of warrior sultan Salahuddin in the 12th century was desecrated after ISIL took the city.

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