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ISIS blows up ancient temple: destroys monastery and desecrates saint’s tomb in Palmyra


(CNN)The burgeoning list of appalling acts by ISIS has grown even longer: The Islamic extremist group has blown up a nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the historic ruins of Palmyra, Syria.

Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s director-general of antiquities and museums, said Sunday that sources in Palmyra informed him that ISIS members rigged the Temple of Baalshamin with large quantities of explosives and detonated them.

There was uncertainty — not unusual amid the chaos of the Syrian conflict — over when exactly the damage was done to the temple, which dates from the first century.

The temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra, Syria, seen in a file image dating back to 1960. ISIS militants are reported to have rigged the ruins with large quantities of explosives before detonating them. The timing of the blast is uncertain — the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it happened sometime in late July/early August.

A Syrian Arab News Agency report Sunday didn’t specify when the explosion took place.

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