ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Islamic State (ISIS) has demolished the Mosul museum and smashed its ancient items, according to a video released by the militant group Thursday.
A group of undisguised militants appear in the video smashing the museum’s histrorical artifacts dating back to 7th century BC.
“These statues are idols of the ancient people and they worshiped them against Allah,” says one militant in the opening of the video.
Mosul’s exiled governor Athil Nujaifi said that the objects destroyed by ISIS were replicas, but some were original and excavated in Mosul.
“Thankfully, the original objects of the Mosul museum were taken to Baghdad and replicas left in their place,” Nujaifi told Rudaw.
“But we noticed from the video that some original items were missing and that means ISIS must have smuggled them out,” he added.
In the video that it is believed to have been filmed last week, militants walk through the museum carrying sledgehammers and beating at the ancient statues and busts, saying, “Allah ordered us to eliminate these idols without worry even if they are worth millions of dollars,”
In some places the militants struggle with the heavy stonework, undented by their sledgehammers. They use electric drills to reduce them to pieces.
The video shows two militants joining hands in order to push the statues to the ground.
The Mosul museum was built in 1952 and it contained some of the oldest cultural, religious artifacts of the Chaldean and Assyrian civilizations who lived in Nineveh.
Since its takeover of Mosul last June, ISIS has destroyed many ancient Christian sites and religious shrines of both Shiite and Sunni faith.