ISIS released propaganda images today that purport to show militants laying explosives in and then blowing up the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. The images, posted on social media by supporters of the group, showed militants carrying barrels of explosives, and laying them inside the temple. Other smaller wired cans lay around the temple walls and columns. Then an image shows a grey plume of smoke rising above the temple from a distance, and then an image of the temple reduced to a pile of rocks. One caption read: "The complete destruction of the pagan Baalshamin temple."
The AP could not independently verify the images. However, they were released like other group propaganda and carried a logo it often used in the city of Palmyra, in Syria's central Homs province.The images also corresponded to prior AP reporting. A resident of Palmyra had told the AP the temple was destroyed on Sunday, a month after the group's militants booby-trapped it with explosives. The UN cultural agency UNESCO yesterday called the destruction of the temple, part of a sprawling Roman-era complex, a war crime. Experts and residents fear the group will destroy other ruins. ISIS, which seized control of Palmyra in May, says such ancient relics promote idolatry. Click for more on what humanity will lose if Palmyra is destroyed. (Read more ancient cities stories.)