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Iraq reopens Baghdad museum 12 years after looting

1 Mars 2015 , Rédigé par Jean-David Desforges Publié dans #Patrimoine culturel et conflits

IRAK. Lu sur yourmiddleeast.com

Le musée national d'Irak a ouvert ses portes, 12 ans après avoir été pillé. De laborieux efforts ont permis de retrouver un tiers des 15000 objets volés lors de l'intervention des USA. Cet événement est une réponse aux destructions de Daech dans le nord du pays, principalement à Mossoul.

The reopening was brought forward in what officials said was a response to the destruction of priceless artefacts by Islamic State group jihadists in the northern city of Mosul.

"We have been preparing to reopen for the past couple of months, the museum should be open to everyone," Qais Hussein Rashid, the deputy tourism and antiquities minister, told AFP.

"The events in Mosul led us to speed up our work and we wanted to open it today as a response to what the gangs of Daesh did," he said, using an Arabic acronym for the IS group.

On Thursday, the jihadists who have occupied the second city of Mosul since June last year released a video in which militants smash ancient statues with sledgehammers in the city's museum.

Militants are also seen using a jackhammer to deface a colossal 40-tonne Assyrian winged bull in an archaeological park in Mosul.

The destruction sparked global outrage, calls for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and fears over the fate of other major heritage sites in areas under IS control.

The Mosul destruction was the worst disaster to strike Iraq's treasures since the national museum in Baghdad was looted in the chaos that followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

The pictures of jihadists gleefully hacking away at treasures dating back several centuries before Christ drew comparisons with the 2001 dynamiting by the Taliban of the Bamiyan buddhas in Afghanistan.

- Hunt continues -

One jihadist speaking to the camera claims they are destroying them on religious grounds because the statues are symbols of idolatry.

But officials and experts argue the IS militants are seen destroying the pieces that are too bulky to be smuggled and sold to finance their self-proclaimed "caliphate".

The 2003 plundering of the Baghdad museum, footage of which was beamed around the world at the time, has been compared to the 13th century Mongol sack of the city's library.

The museum was considered to host one of the world's greatest archeological collections.

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