ISIS Blows Up 'Most Important' Temple
Palmyra's Temple of Bel was amazingly well-preserved
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2015 4:26 AM CDT
Updated Aug 31, 2015 6:33 AM CDT
This photo released on a social media site used by ISIS militants shows militants positioning explosives in the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra.   (Islamic State social media account via AP)
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(Newser) – The 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel was considered the most important temple in the ancient city of Palmyra, which is itself considered one of the world's treasures, and it's now believed to be rubble. Witnesses say ISIS militants, who seized the Syrian city in May, destroyed the temple with a massive explosion yesterday, reports the AP. "It is total destruction. The bricks and columns are on the ground," a Palmyra resident tells the AP. "It was an explosion the deaf would hear."

The temple, consecrated in AD32 to the Semitic god Bel, was one of the best-preserved parts of the site and had intricate wall carvings, the BBC reports. (ISIS released images last week of its destruction of another major temple in Palmyra, where it beheaded the prominent archaeologist in charge of the ruins.)