File - People inspect the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah in Mosul, 360 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, July 24, 2014.(AP Photo)
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ISIS jihadists occupying parts of Iraq are destroying age-old heritage sites and looting others to sell valued artifacts on the black market, experts gathered at UNESCO's Paris headquarters warned Monday.The extremist group has destroyed shrines, churches and precious manuscripts in Mosul, Tikrit and other areas of Iraq it controls and excavated sites to sell objects abroad, in what UNESCO chief Irina Bokova described as "cultural cleansing". Bokova said she had alerted all UNESCO member states, "as well as the main museums around the world and the art market, Interpol, the World Customs Organization ... by calling for the utmost vigilance over objects that could come from the current looting of Iraqi heritage".She added that UNESCO had handed over the geographical coordinates of all key heritage sites to countries engaged in airstrikes over Iraq to fight ISIS, to prevent any further damage.
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