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MIDEAST > ISIL crucifies prisoners, bulldozes historic statue

ISTANBUL

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaeda breakaway group, has announced that it executed seven prisoners in its northeastern Syrian stronghold late on April 29, two of them by crucifixion.

In a written statement, the militant group said it had executed seven people in the city center of Raqqa, near Syria’s border with Turkey, according to a report by Anadolu Agency.

“Ten days ago, attackers on a motorbike threw a grenade at an ISIL fighter at the Naim roundabout. A Muslim civilian had his leg blown off and a child was killed,” the group said on Twitter. “Our fighters immediately set up a roadblock and succeeded in capturing them. They were then able to detain other members of the cell.”

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights posted a photograph of the two prisoners being crucified at the roundabout with passers-by walking past apparently unfazed.

Famous historic Assyrian statue pulled down

Meanwhile, ISIL militants bulldozed over the antique “Asad Sheeran” (Sheeran Lion) statue - one of the symbols of the city in the central al-Rasheed Garden - as they regarded it as an “icon and element of polytheism,” the human rights watchdog quoted Abu Ammar, a local activist in Raqqa, as saying.

Ammar said the statue, with its rich heritage, was of historical significance for the people of Raqqa, as opposed to an “icon.”
      
As historical records suggest, the stone statue consisting of two lions - reportedly dating back to the Assyrian period - was removed from the Ayn al-Arab district of Aleppo to Raqqa’s al-Rasheed Garden in 1983, where it was placed on two stone plinths in the western entrance of the garden.

April/30/2014

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