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Islamic State destroys historic Palmyra arch

By
Tomas Monzon
The Arch of Triumph at the Syrian historical city of Palmyra was destroyed by Islamic State militants Sunday. Photo courtesy of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums
The Arch of Triumph at the Syrian historical city of Palmyra was destroyed by Islamic State militants Sunday. Photo courtesy of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums

PALMYRA, Syria, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Islamic State militants destroyed the historic Arch of Triumph in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, an antiquities official said.

The bombing of the structure marks the latest archaeological site the terrorist group has destroyed. The arch was 1,800 years old and was an integral part of the Roman city.

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Syria's Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums confirmed the destruction, citing local eye witnesses.

Islamic State militants wrested control of Palmyra -- considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- and its vicinity in May. Since then, the antiquities expert that worked the ruins, Khaled al-Asad, was beheaded and destruction of specific parts of the ruins has been ongoing.

In August, militants destroyed the significant Temple of Bel as well as the Temple of Baalshamin, sparking international outrage.

The Arch of Triumph, which consisted of one large arch alongside two smaller ones, served as the gateway to the former Roman city's colonnade. Syria's Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums described the top of the arch as being adorned with "geometrical and plant ornaments."

The directorate's website also said the department is concerned about the fate of Palmyra as it remains under IS control. The directorate says the city embodies "tolerance and multicultural richness, the things [the Islamic State] hates."

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