IS militants bulldoze ancient city of Nimrud

(AGI) Rome, Mar 5 - Islamic State fighters have looted andbulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, the Iraqigovernment says. The assault came just a week after the releaseof a video showing IS supporters smashing museum statues andcarvings in Mosul. UNESCO has called the destruction a warcrime. Fears are growing for the heritage of other areasthreatened by IS, like the archaeological sites of Cyrene,Leptis Magna and Sabratha in Libya. The Hezbollah Brigades, theIraqi wing of the pro-Iranian Shiite movement, took control ofthe entire area of al Dour, 25 kilometers south of

(AGI) Rome, Mar 5 - Islamic State fighters have looted andbulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, the Iraqigovernment says. The assault came just a week after the releaseof a video showing IS supporters smashing museum statues andcarvings in Mosul. UNESCO has called the destruction a warcrime. Fears are growing for the heritage of other areasthreatened by IS, like the archaeological sites of Cyrene,Leptis Magna and Sabratha in Libya. The Hezbollah Brigades, theIraqi wing of the pro-Iranian Shiite movement, took control ofthe entire area of al Dour, 25 kilometers south of Tikrit.Attempts to recapture the hometown of Saddam Hussein, led byIraqis with the support of Sunni tribal groups, will continueon Saturday with an attack on the area of al Alam, north ofTikrit. Nimrud, founded in the 13th century BC, is located30 kilometers south-east of Mosul. IS considers all statues anddepictions of deities to be "false idols" and orders theirdestruction. According to the Iraqi government, trucks mighthave been used by the militants to carry away the remains. Itis not yet possible to assess the extent of the damage; manyartifacts had already been brought to museums in Baghdad, butothers were still in place, some only replicas but several ofinestimable value. Some reports say the destruction of Nimrudmay be an attempt to cover up the looting of items for sale onthe black market. Iraq's senior Shiite cleric, AyatollahAli al-Sistani, called on the country to fight Islamic State:"Day after day, the need is proved for everyone to unite andfight this ferocious organisation that spares neither man norstone," Sistani said in a Friday sermon delivered by an aide. Russia has issued another warning, saying IS is now incontrol of the drug trade, which - along with oil - has becomethe largest source of jihadist revenue. Heroin, derived fromopium produced in Afghanistan, generates up to a billion a yearfor IS, according to the Federal Drug Control Service of theRussian Federation (FSKN) and reported by the agency ITAR-TASS."More than half of the heroin sold in Europe now comes fromjihadist sources. The Afghan heroin could earn Islamic state upto 50 billion," the organisation's director warned. (AGI) .