Mosul Museum Retaken by Iraqi Forces

Video still of ISIS militant damaging the Assyrian winged bull.
Video still of ISIS militant damaging the Assyrian winged bull.

Iraqi forces on Tuesday recaptured the main government building in Mosul, the central bank branch and the museum where three years ago the militants filmed themselves destroying priceless statues, reports Reuters.

Dozens of Islamic State fighters were killed in an overnight raid, according to spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammadawi.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi flew into Mosul to rally troops, telling state TV, "Iraqis shall walk tall when the war is over." Islamic State claimed the city as part of its caliphate in 2014.

Video of ISIS militants destroying artifacts at the Mosul museum surfaced in February 2015. 

An Assyrian winged bull sculpture dating from the 7th century is likely a loss, along with large sculptures that could not be moved, especially works from the Assyrian and Hatrene areas of the museum. The winged bull from the Nergal Gate, circa 704 and 690 BC, appears to have been partially destroyed with a power tool in the video.

Some reports contend that many artifacts had already been removed for safekeeping in Baghdad before ISIS entered; however, the extent of damage is not entirely known.

The western half of the civilian-packed city is the next front in the battle to regain Mosul, an effort led by Iraq's Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) over the past five months.

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