Iraqi artists held an exhibition on antiquities a day after Islamic State militants posted an online video showing them smashing rare ancient artifacts in a museum, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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A video of jihadis in Iraq gleefully smashing ancient statues to pieces with sledgehammers sparked global outrage and fears Friday that more of the world's oldest heritage will be destroyed.The destruction of priceless Assyrian and other artifacts from the main museum and an archaeological site in the northern city of Mosul drew comparisons with the 2001 dynamiting of the Bamiyan buddhas in Afghanistan.UNESCO chief Irinia Bokova described the destruction as "cultural cleansing".ISIS has controlled Iraq's second city since June and has destroyed several historical and cultural sites across the country, including Muslim shrines.After wrecking the giant statue, ISIS militants reportedly told the guards of the vast archaeological site that the ancient city of Nimrud, south of Mosul, was next on their list.Mounir Bouchenaki, the director of the Bahrain-based Arab Regional Center for World Heritage, admitted it would be hard to physically protect Hatra, Nimrud or other sites in ISIS areas.
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