ISIS destroys two 'polytheistic' shrines in Palmyra

Roman ruins still standing but possibly mined

23 June, 15:23

    A general view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra A general view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra

    ROME - The Islamic State (ISIS) has destroyed two ancient shrines near the UNESCO World Heritage site Palmyra in eastern Syria. One of the two was the tomb of Sheikh Mohammad Ben Ali, descendent of the Muslim prophet Mohammad's cousin. The group claims that it was ''removing the landmarks of polytheism'', Newsweek and other media cite the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) as saying. ISIS's media office Wilayat Homs has published two photos of the tomb, a construction in stone and mud worn down by erosion on a hill about four kilometers from the Roman era archaeological site: one prior to the explosion and one after it. Posted alongside were photos of fighters bringing explosives to the site. SOHR confirmed to the media that the tomb had been destroyed along with the shrine of Abu Behaeddin, a historic figure of Palmyra. ISIS considers these Islamic shrines to be un-Islamic and a form of idolatry, and had thus prohibited visits to them, Newsweek cited Syrian director of antiquities Maamoun Abdulkarim as saying. The Roman ruins of the first and second centuries AD in Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site are still standing.
    Reports in recent days suggest that explosives have been planted in them, however.

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