Islamic State group jihadists have destroyed a famous statue of a lion outside the museum in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the country’s antiquities director said Thursday. Maamoun Abdelkarim said the statue, known as the Lion of Al-Lat, was an irreplacable piece and was apparently destroyed last week. ‘IS members on Saturday destroyed the Lion of al-Lat, which is a unique piece that is three metres (10 feet) tall and weight 15 tonnes,’ Abdelkarim told AFP. ‘It’s the most serious crime they have committed against Palmyra’s heritage,’ he said. The limestone statue was discovered in 1977 by a Polish archeological mission at the temple of Al-Lat, a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess, and dated back to the 1st century BC. Abdelkarim said the statue had been covered with a metal plate and sandbags to protect it from fighting ‘but we never imagined that IS would come

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