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Palmyra’s Temple of Bel destroyed, says UN

29A satellite image confirms the main temple in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria has been destroyed by Islamic State (IS) militants, the UN says.
Syria’s head of antiquities had suggested on Monday that the Temple of Bel was still standing, despite reports a massive explosion over the weekend.
But Unosat analysts said the main structure had been reduced to rubble, as well as a line of columns beside it.
IS captured the Unesco World Heritage site from government forces in May.
“Unfortunately, the images we acquired do show that the main building of the temple has been destroyed,” Einar Bjorgo, Unosat’s manager, told the BBC early on Tuesday.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) considered the Temple of Bel – the great sanctuary of the Palmyrene gods – one of the most important religious buildings of the 1st Century AD in the East.
Maamoun Abdul Karim, the head of the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Museums, said its destruction was a “catastrophe”.
“I feel very sad and I am very pessimistic… for the future of Palmyra,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“I am sure we will have more bad images [in the future] because these people… are ignorant, they are very criminal,” he added. “They don’t respect any image, any identity of the people.”