Islamic State militants have released photos showing what appears to be the destruction of the ancient Baal Shamin temple in Syria’s Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site recently captured and vandalized by the jihadists.
The militants on Tuesday published images purporting to show men carrying barrels with what seemed to be explosives into the Baal Shamin temple in Syria’s Palmyra. The series of photos also depicted barrels tied to the columns of the temple and a large explosion which razed the building to the ground. The images were presumably screenshots from a video.
The Baal Shamin temple, which used to be the best preserved building at Palmyra, was blown up on Sunday, according to officials. UNESCO said that its inner part – or cella – was “severely damaged” and the surrounding pillars collapsed after the explosion.
The temple dedicated to a Semitic deity was built nearly 2,000 years ago and further enlarged by Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD.
The act sparked international condemnation with the UN calling it a war crime.
“Such acts are war crimes and their perpetrators must be accountable for their actions. UNESCO stands by all Syrian people in their efforts to safeguard their heritage, a heritage for all humanity,” said the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.