An ancient temple of Baalshamin in the Syrian city of Palmyra was blown up by Islamic State (IS) militants according to Syrian officials and activists.
The blast caused devastating damage to the temple and killed a prominent Syrian archaeologist, Khaled al-Asaad while he was working at the site.
The temple is Unesco-listed and believe to be nearly 2,000 years old and one of the city’s best-known buildings.
It was “an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity,” Director General of Unesco said in a statement.
“They destroyed an incredibly important architectural structure,” Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s director-general of antiquities and museums, said.
IS militants took control of Palmyra and the nearby modern town of Tadmur in May. They has threatened what they would do to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
ISIS have destroyed a pair of Palmyran tombs, and has released videos showing destruction of statues since then.
Abdulkarim said, “they said they would destroy the statues but not the structures themselves inside Palmyra. They lied.”
ISIS have also blown up other historical sites and sold antiquities to smugglers in order to raise their funds.
The trade of antiquities is one of ISIS’ primary funding which raise tens of millions of pounds every year.
They charge smugglers 20 per cent on the sale of items. If the smugglers do not buy the items, those items are destroyed disregarding of their historic importance.
Other monuments, temples and historic buildings have been mined, and a statue of a lion at the entrance to Palmyra’s museum has been destroyed according to Abdulkarim.