Another World Heritage Site at Risk as ISIS Takes Over Sabratha, Libya

Fears rise that ISIS could destroy a UNESCO World Heritage site in Libya.

ISIS fighters drove a caravan of trucks into the city of Sabratha following the arrest of two ISIS members, the English-language Libya Herald reported on Thursday. The city is home to one of the most well preserved Roman theaters in the world, among other archeological treasures.

Located on the northern coast of Africa, Sabratha was once the site of a bustling Phoenician trading post and was built up by the Romans during the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. Archaeological excavations uncovered a forum, baths, temples and fountains, in addition to colorful and well preserved mosaics and paintings inside stone ruins that run along Sabratha’s Mediterranean beaches.

In 1982, UNESCO designated it a World Heritage site.

ISIS has been known to destroy and loot cultural heritage sites as it views the artifacts as a form of idolatry -- but they also finance military activity by selling pieces of art and sculptures on the black market, according to experts.

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