The organization Islamic State (IS) recently destroyed ruins from the ancient cities of Hatra and Nimrud in Iraq. They used sledgehammers and bulldozers to do the job. Hatra was founded over 2,000 years ago, and Nimrud over 3,000 years ago. It is unclear as to how much has been destroyed. IS posted a YouTube video showing its members demolishing ancient statues.
IS (also known as ISIS and ISIL) has taken control over parts of Syria and Iraq. The Iraqi troops and the Syrian army have been fighting the group. The aim of the IS is to establish a state for Muslim people where Islamic law is followed. The group’s leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (image). The IS came out of another group in Iraq. In the last couple of years, it has become more powerful. It is well-funded. People from around the world have gone to Syria and Iraq to join and fight with the group. The IS is known for being strict, harsh, and brutal. The group has killed many people, including many Muslims who don’t agree with its philosophy.
Iraq itself has gone through a war in recent times. In 2003, Iraq was invaded by troops from various countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. Iraq was attacked mainly because the country was thought to have weapons that could be used to cause destruction around the globe. These weapons were never found. Iraq’s leader before the war was a man called Saddam Hussein. He had been its leader for almost 25 years. After the war started, he was captured and tried in the Iraqi court. He was found guilty of killing many Iraqis and was executed in 2006. A new government was formed in Iraq.
The two main rivers of Iraq are the Tigris and the Euphrates. The region between these two rivers was once called “Mesopotamia”. It is referred to by many as the “cradle of civilization” since the world’s first civilized societies began in the area over 6,000 years ago. The wheel and one of the writing systems (called cuneiform) were believed to have been invented in Mesopotamia. One of the world’s first written stories was about “Gilgamesh”. He is thought to have been a king of this area around 4,500 years ago. Here are two videos about Mesopotamia.
Did you know?
A rebel group took over the city of Timbuktu, Mali, and in 2013, destroyed the city’s ancient sites, and burned some very old and precious manuscripts.
Did you know?
In 2001, a group called the Taliban destroyed two massive Buddhist statues built during the 6th Century in the Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan.
Image Credits: Al-Furqān Media, for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s image, Kmusser for the map’s image, Sky News for the image of a person destroying a statue
Sources: http://whc.unesco.org/, http://www.aljazeera.com/, BBC, History Alive! The Ancient World