Iraq’s National Museum has reopened in the capital Baghdad after 12 years. The prime minister cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony welcoming visitors back for the first time since the US led coalition invasion in 2003.
In a speech to reporters Haider al-Abadi promised to track down the Islamic State militants who were responsible for the destruction earlier this week of rare and ancient artifacts in the northern city of Mosul:
“Those barbaric, criminal terrorists are trying to destroy the heritage of mankind and Iraq’s civilisation. We will hunt them down and make them pay for every drop of blood shed in Iraq”.
On Thursday ISIL released a video that they say shows their militants using sledgehammers to destroy several large statues, one dating back to the ninth century BC.
They are also believed to have sold ancient artifacts on the black market to help finance their violent campaign across the region.