Islamic State group jihadists on Sunday blew up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the UNESCO-listed Syrian city of Palmyra, the country’s antiquities chief told AFP.
“Daesh placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal Shamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple,” said Maamoun Abdulkarim, using another name for IS.
IS, which controls swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq, captured Palmyra on May 21, sparking international concern about the fate of the heritage site described by UNESCO as of “outstanding universal value”.
“The cella (inner area of the temple) was destroyed and the columns around collapsed,” he said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors the country’s civil war, confirmed the destruction of the temple.
Baal Shamin was built in 17 AD and it was expanded under the reign of Roman emperor Hadrian in 130 AD.