Sorry, ISIS: smashed statues ‘were fakes’

Mosul’s exiled governor said many of the statues destroyed by ISIS were not the originals - but some real ones were damaged

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As the world watched mournfully Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants destroying statues dating back to the 7th century BC in Iraq’s second city of Mosul, Iraqi antiquities officials claim that many of the statues were replicas.

“They were copies. The originals are all here,” Baghdad’s museum director told Germany’s Deutsche Welle broadcaster.

In the video, released in mid-February, ISIS militants were seen toppling statues and using a jackhammer to deface another relic. The militants consider these world heritage items as “idols” and “worthless.”

Fawzye al-Mahdi, head of the antiquity department in Iraq’s cultural heritage authority, also confirmed that these artifacts seen being destroyed in the video were modern copies made of plaster.

“None of the artifacts destroyed in the video were originals,” she told Deutsche Welle.

However, Atheel Nuafi, Mosul’s exiled governor, said many of these items destroyed were not the original but there were real ones that were destroyed after ISIS’s rampage.

“There were two items that were real and which the militants destroyed,” he told Iraq television.

“One is a winged bull and the other was the God of Rozhan.”

He also suspects ISIS militants stole at least seven items before destroying the museum.

The UN heritage body UNESCO was also alerted by the Iraqi authorities over the missing pieces.

ISIS seized Mosul - Iraq's second largest city - after a lighting offensive in June last year. Now, Iraqi forces backed with Shiite volunteers are now aiming to reclaim Mosul after retaking Tikrit.

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