Artifacts from the birthplace of civilization were destroyed by Islamic militants. A 5-minute video posted Thursday shows fighters smashing statues dating from the Assyrian and Akkadian empires at Iraq's largest museum.
A man in the video cites Mohammed's destruction of idols in Mecca as precedence for the attack on the Mosul Museum.
“These statues and idols, these artifacts, if God has ordered its removal, they became worthless to us even if they are worth billions of dollars,” says the man.
Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, issued a statement:
"Speaking with great sadness on behalf of the Metropolitan, a museum whose collection proudly protects and displays the arts of ancient and Islamic Mesopotamia, we strongly condemn this act of catastrophic destruction to one of the most important museums in the Middle East."
"The Mosul Museum’s collection covers the entire range of civilization in the region, with outstanding sculptures from royal cities such as Nimrud, Nineveh, and Hatra in northern Iraq," the statment reads. "This mindless attack on great art, on history, and on human understanding constitutes a tragic assault not only on the Mosul Museum, but on our universal commitment to use art to unite people and promote human understanding. Such wanton brutality must stop, before all vestiges of the ancient world are obliterated."