This article is more than 4 years old Islamic State attacks another ancient temple in Palmyra

Extent of damage at Temple of Bel is not known, monitoring group says of assault that comes just days after destruction of Baal Shamin

The explosion that destroyed Baal Shamin on August 25. Photograph: Rex Shutterstock

Islamic State has destroyed part of another ancient temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra, according to activists on social media and a group monitoring the conflict, this time targeting the Temple of Bel.

The extent of the damage at the Roman-era structure in the central desert city was not known, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.

It is the second temple that Islamic State has attacked in Palmyra this month. On 25 August, the group detonated explosives in the ancient Baal Shamin temple, an act that the cultural agency Unesco has called a war crime aimed at wiping out a symbol of Syria’s diverse cultural heritage.

Islamic State seized Palmyra from government forces in a sudden offensive in May and is tightly controlling communications in the city, according to activists. The group, which has proclaimed a caliphate in the territory it holds across Syria and Iraq, has regularly demolished monuments it considers sacrilegious and has carried out mass killings.

Earlier this month, the group beheaded the 82-year-old Syrian archaeologist who had looked after Palmyra’s ruins for four decades and hung his body in public, according to Syria’s antiquities chief.

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