24 Aug 2015

IS 'blows up ancient Palmyra heritage site'

9:18 am on 24 August 2015

Islamic State militants have destroyed Palmyra's ancient temple of Baalshamin, Syrian officials and activists say.

Baalshamin in Palmyra, Syria

IS has reportedly blown up Baalshamin. Photo: AFP

Syria's head of antiquities was quoted as saying the temple was blown up on Sunday. However, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that it happened one month ago.

IS took control of Palmyra in May, sparking fears the group might demolish the Unesco World Heritage site.

The group has destroyed several ancient sites in Iraq.

IS "placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baalshamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple," Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP news agency.

Residents who had fled from Palmyra also said IS had planted explosives at the temple, although they had done it about one month ago, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.