ISIS militants have begun destroying the ruins of the ancient city of Hatra in Iraq, Kurdish sources say.
Hatra was founded during the Parthian Empire more than 2000 years ago and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Earlier this week, ISIS militants launched a bulldozer on the nearby ruins of the Assyrian city of Nimrud.
ISIS, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, says shrines and statues are “false idols” that have to be smashed.
It is not yet clear how much damage is possible.
Hatra, located about 68 miles southwest of Mosul, was a fortified city that withstood the Roman invasion thanks to its thick walls fortified with towers.
Saeed Mamuzini, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told Kurdish media that IS militants had begun destroying the site.
“The city of Hatra is very large, and many artifacts of that era have been protected inside the site,” he said, adding that the militants had already confiscated gold and silver.
There is no independent confirmation of the destruction.
Reports of a bulldozer attack in Nimrud, an Assyrian city founded in the 13th century BC, surfaced on March 5th.
On March 6, UNESCO President Irina Bokova condemned the “cultural cleansing” in Iraq as a “war crime.”
“Absolutely no political and religious excuses for destroying the cultural heritage of mankind.”
The Parthian Empire was the main political and cultural force in ancient Iran. At the height of its power in the second century AD, it spread from modern Pakistan to Syria.
Hatra later flourished under Arab rule and became a major trading point on the Silk Road across the Asian continent.