الثلاثاء , يونيو 16 2020

Looted Iraq museum opens 12 years on

A man looks at ancient Assyrian human-headed winged bull statues at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad Some of the museum’s items were impossible to loot during the Iraq war

Iraq’s national museum has officially reopened in Baghdad, 12 years after it was closed in the aftermath of the US-led invasion.

Many of the antiquities looted during the war have now been recovered and restored.

The museum’s opening was brought forward in response to an Islamic State (IS) video showing statues being destroyed in Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to punish those responsible.

“Those barbaric, criminal terrorists are trying to destroy the heritage of mankind and Iraq’s civilization,” Mr Abadi said while attending the museum’s opening.

“We will chase them in order to make them pay for every drop of blood shed in Iraq and for the destruction of Iraq’s civilization.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (C) attends the reopening ceremony of Iraq's national museum on February 28, 2015Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially opened the museum

A statue dating back to the 8th Century BC is displayed at the entrance of Iraq's national museum during its official reopening on February 28, 2015 This piece dates to the 8th Century BC – others in the museum are far older

An ancient artefact on display at the Iraqi MuseumThe Mesopotamians developed writing long before other civilizations

Artefacts coming from the Mosul area on display at the Iraqi MuseumAbout 15,000 pieces were looted during the Iraq war, with one-third recovered

The world heritage body Unesco has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss how to protect Iraq’s cultural heritage.

The Iraqi Deputy Tourism and Antiquities Minister, Qais Hussein Rashid, told AFP the actions of IS had spurred them into opening.

“The events in Mosul led us to speed up our work and we wanted to open it today as a response to what the gangs of Daesh did,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

The Iraq Museum estimates that some 15,000 items were taken in the chaos that followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Almost one-third have been recovered.

The collection covers 7,000 years of history, with Mesopotamia – as Iraq was called for much of human history – considered the cradle of civilization.

Modern reality in Iraq is more violent. The areas in and around Baghdad continue to see daily violence, with at least 25 people killed in two separate attacks north of the capital on Saturday.

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