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ISIS Destroys 2,000-Year-Old 'Gate of God' in Ninevah

ISIS
A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds a a rocket-propelled grenade launcher as he takes up position in an area overlooking Baretle village (background), which is controlled by the Islamic State, in Khazir, on the edge of Mosul, Sept. 8, 2014. The Kurdish fighters are firing from an area they had retaken from the Islamic State, on Bashiqah mountain. |

The Islamic State terrorist organization has destroyed a 2,000-year-old structure known as the "Gate of God" near its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, according to a British research organization.

The gate, which is also known as the "Mashqi Gate," was one of the many gates that guarded the biblical Assyrian city of Nineveh that dates back as far as the seventh century B.C. during the rule of Assyrian King Sennacherib.

Local activists in Mosul who spoke to the Kurdish news outlet ARA News, confirmed that IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) destroyed the gate, as the group continues its systematic destruction of cultural and religious antiquities in Iraq and Syria.

An Iraqi antiquities expert named Yasser Hatami condemned the gate's destruction and blamed the Iraqi government because of its inability to protect the ancient structure.

A source from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq confirmed to The Independent that the gate has been destroyed and the The Antiquities Department in Baghdad could not deny that IS had attacked the gate.

"We naturally deplore all acts of vandalism and destruction of cultural heritage, and continue to monitor the situation to the best of our ability," the spokesperson from the British institute said. "In the absence of specific information it is not yet possible to comment on what has been destroyed."

The "Gate of God" is only the latest ancient structure to meet its demise at the hands of the Islamic extremists, as IS militants have also destroyed ancient monasteries, statues, monuments, churches, tombs of saints and prophets and other antiquated artifacts in areas under its control in Iraq and Syria.

"ISIS views tombs they destroy as sacrilegious and a return to paganism," Syrian antiquities chief Abdul Maamoun Abdulkarim told ARA News.

In February 2015, IS released a propaganda video showing militants raiding and destroying artifacts that date back as far as the seventh century in a museum in Mosul. Also in February, IS ransacked the Mosul library and burned over 100,000 books and manuscripts. Last Month, IS released a video showing militants burning a pile of Christian textbooks in Mosul.

In August 2015, it was reported that IS destroyed two ancient temples in the Syrian city of Palmyra — the Temple of Bel and Temple of Baalshamin. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization labeled the acts a war crime.

Later in October, IS destroyed the iconic 1,800-year-old Arch of Triumph in Palmyra.

Last August, IS also destroyed a 1,600-year-old Christian monastery in the Syrian town of Al-Qaryatain and allegedly dug up the bones of martyred Saint Elian, who was killed by his father for refusing to renounce his faith in Jesus.

During its takeover of Al-Qaryatain, IS kidnapped as many as 230 Christians from the town. It was reported earlier this week that IS killed as many as 21 Christians who were kidnapped during the takeover.

Al-Qaryatain has since been liberated by Russian-backed Syrian forces.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

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