Islamic State terrorists have demolished the Syrian city of Palmyra’s ancient temple of Baalshamin, Syrian activists and officials confirmed late Sunday.
Syria’s head of antiquities said the temple was destroyed on Sunday while the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims the destruction happened one month ago.
ISIS seized Palmyra in May, triggering fears that the group might demolish the protected ruins. The temple was listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site for being “of special cultural or physical significance.”
The terror group has destroyed several ancient ruins in Iraq and previously had destroyed ancient statues in Palmyra while leaving the temple untouched.
Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told reporters that ISIS “placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baalshamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple.”
This conflicted with reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which said residents who had fled from Palmyra a month ago said ISIS had planted explosives at the temple at that time.
The news comes after last week’s beheading of the 81-year-old archaeologist who had cared for Palmyra’s ruins for the last four decades.