IS photos show ‘Palmyra temple destruction’

Damascus: The Islamic State (IS) terror group on Tuesday published photos of what appears to be the destruction of the Temple of Baalshamin at the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, media reported.

The Temple of Baalshamin was built nearly 2,000 years ago and was considered the second most important structure at Palmyra – the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world, BBC reported.

Syria’s director of antiquities Maamoun Abdul Karim said IS militants had packed the Greco-Roman temple with large quantities of explosives and detonated them on Sunday, bringing down the inner sanctum, or cella, and surrounding pillars.

Two of the images published online appeared to show men placing barrels of explosives connected with detonating cord around the temple’s interior and on several exterior columns.

Another image showed a large explosion and a fourth shows the aftermath, with piles of rubble where the temple used to be.

“The complete destruction of the pagan Baalshamin temple,” a caption read.

However, the images could not be independently verified, but they carried a logo IS often uses for propaganda from Palmyra, which the group captured from Syrian government forces in May, sources added.