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Witness confirms IS destruction of ancient Syria temple

A resident in the Syrian city of Palmyra says Islamic State fighters have demolished the ancient temple of Baalshamin after laying explosives around it for over a month, confirming earlier reports.

The UN cultural watchdog UNESCO calls the destruction of the temple a “war crime” and an “immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.”

The witness, who goes by the name Nasser al-Thaer, says Monday the bombing took place a day earlier. He says he feared for the other ancient sites in Palmyra but that no explosives have been placed around them.

The Temple of Baal Shamin in Palmyra, Syria, seen in a photograph from 2010. (CC, BY-SA, Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia)
The Temple of Baal Shamin in Palmyra, Syria, seen in a photograph from 2010. (CC, BY-SA, Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia)

An IS operative tells The Associated Press over Skype that a statement would be issued soon.

— AP

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