Islamic State militants have left the antiquities museum in Mosul, Iraq — once filled with artifacts thousands of years old — in shambles.
ISIS took control of Mosul in 2014, and on Tuesday, Iraqi forces were able to recapture the museum. Reporters from The Associated Press were granted access to the museum on Wednesday, and they found rubble everywhere and inches of ash in the basement, where rare books and manuscripts were incinerated. In 2015, ISIS released a video showing militants using sledgehammers and power tools to hit ancient artifacts, claiming they were idols that must be destroyed. Some officials said those were replicas, but Layla Salih, a former curator of the museum, looked at photos taken by AP, and said they ruined real historic items, including two giant lamassu statues from the Assyrian city of Nimrud. "They were priceless," she said. "They were in perfect condition."
Brig. Gen. Abbas al-Jabouri said he believes there are only 2,000 ISIS fighters left in Mosul, telling CBS News on Monday "they don't have a chance." U.S. and Iraqi officials believe Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, has fled the city and is hiding somewhere in the surrounding desert.