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U.N. Warns Iraq To Thwart Relic Robberies Amid ISIS Crisis

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A U.N. official urged Iraqis Tuesday to protect that nation’s trove of antiquities as violence spurred by a terrorist group leaves numerous relic sites at risk for plunder and eventual resale on the black market. Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said she fears Iraq’s remaining artifacts may be looted or destroyed as the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has sacked several cities and advances toward Baghdad.

“I call on all Iraqis to stand united for the protection of their country’s cultural heritage. It represents a unique testimony of humanity, of the origins of our civilization, and of inter-ethnic and inter-religious coexistence,” Bokovoa said in a statement. “I call on all actors to refrain from any form of destruction of cultural heritage, including religious sites.”

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