Extremists Smash More Timbuktu Sites
'World heritage doesn't exist,' Ansar Dine fighters say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2012 2:40 AM CDT
Extremists have destroyed shrines inside this ancient Timbuktu mosque.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Islamic extremists destroying historic sites in the ancient city of Timbuktu have vowed to keep going until there's nothing left. Gunmen in the Malian city destroyed two tombs at the 700-year-old Djingareyber mosque yesterday, adding to a trail of destruction which includes the mausoleums of numerous Islamic saints, considered to be idolatrous by the radical Ansar Dine group. The group has also smashed the main gate to a 15th-century mosque, which, according to local legend, would not open until the end of the world.

The group says it plans to destroy anything identified as a world heritage site and fears are growing for the hundreds of thousands of manuscripts that survive from the city's centuries as a medieval center of learning, the BBC reports. "There is no world heritage. It doesn't exist. The infidels must not get involved in our business," said a Tunisian jihadist who identified himself as part of Ansar Dine's "media committee." The United Nations Security Council has condemned the destruction, saying it could be considered a war crime.